Mari Jewell is a Maths teacher at Welsh medium secondary, Ysgol Tryfan, Bangor. She is also a mother of three children aged five, two and one.
"How do us teachers prepare for parents' evenings? First of all, we'll have a look back through each child's exercise books. Of course we do that all the time, but we'll be extra vigilant before parents' evenings, looking in particular for any weaknesses (and strengths!).
We'll look at their recent tests and assessments as well. The school has a system which flags up any student whose results are sliding. Then we can look into the reasons for any underachievement.
Parents' evenings are really important to let people know how their child is doing, so that they can be realistic about their child's progress. They need a clear idea of what results their child can achieve; that way they will be more aware of how they can give help and support. I try to find out if the parents know of any reason why the child's work isn't going as expected, perhaps asking if they are aware of problems with a particular subject.
As a Maths teacher, I find parents are often a bit anxious about my subject. Because they have bad memories of their own experiences at school, and feel apprehensive about things like algorithms and Pythagorus, they think they're bad at Maths. What I tell them is that they probably do have a good feeling for number in their everyday life - and can be a lot of help to their child. So my message to the parents is: don't feel helpless - you are able to support your child, even if you don't necessarily feel that confident.
About 60 or 70% of parents turn up at the evenings, though it varies for different years. Some people, especially if their own schooldays weren't a positive experience, can feel a bit daunted. They might be afraid of how to speak to a teacher. They shouldn't be; it's really informal.
Whatever parents want to ask, they should. There aren't right questions and wrong questions. And most of the time, parents and teachers agree. I've only ever seen one set of parents arguing with the teacher. Anyway, teachers are usually really receptive to any comments - even about their teaching!
It's important to make an effort to attend. Both parents should try and go, whether they're living together or not. Children whose parents don't go do feel they don't have that support - they can feel left out. I quite like it when the children come too, because it's important they know what I said about them.
One thing parents could do is write a list of the teachers they most want to see. There are a lot of subject teachers, and you don't have to see every one. Discuss it with your child and draw up a list of preferences.
Have a look at your child's exercise books, too. I know sometimes it's difficult for parents to know what they're looking for, or to know how their child's work compares to the rest of the class. But they'll give you an idea of what he or she is doing."