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Talking to the teachers

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Updated: 8/12/2003 12:11 am
Talking with faculty members can be a good way to assess a school on its most personal level. Ask the principal or other official if he or she can arrange meetings, or even set up a time when you might visit a few classrooms. At your meetings, ask the teachers about the school in general, and their class in particular. Open-ended questions such as, 'What's it like teaching here?' can tell you a lot. Find out about their teaching methods, their rules, and how they deal with discipline and behavior problems. Also, how big is their average class, and what's their policy on homework? For the school you eventually select, it's especially good to speak with your child's teachers in advance: this helps you establish a rapport, and shows that you're interested in your child's education. Too often, the parent's first contact with a teacher is when a problem has arisen. In addition to what's said, you can learn a lot by what you see, if given a chance to tour the classrooms. Are students and teachers bored, or do they seem interested? Does learning appear to be taking place? These are all important clues to watch for, when choosing a school.

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