In the beginning of school year, your child’s homeroom teacher will visit your house as a part of Katei Houmon Program. It is an opportunity for parents to voice their concerns and speak candidly with the teacher. The teacher can learn more about your kid’s living environment and the how that environment might impact his/her learning in the classroom. There are many questions about what foreign parents should do during katei houmon especially those who don’t speak much Japanese and don’t understand Japanese culture.
So let’s get started!
Q1. What is Katei Houmon?
It is a day where your child’s homeroom teacher will visit your house for about 10 to 20 minutes.
Q2. Should I admit the teacher into the home?
If you feel comfortable to admit your child’s homeroom teacher into your home, you can ask the teacher to sit in the living room or dining room. Some teachers may politely decline to enter your personal spaces due to time limitation. Please remember that their schedules are tight and they need to hop from one student’s house to other houses within a couple of hours. Therefore, you have to make sure that your genkan or front porch area is clean and odorless so both of you can speak in a comfortable environment. If the teacher agrees to enter your home, ask him/her to sit in the couch, dining chairs or zabuton (Japanese cushion). Remember to clean up everything before the visitation.
Q3. Should I provide foods or drinks?
If the teacher enters your home, you can serve some drink or snacks. We have heard that some foreigners insisted to provide full course menu to welcome the teacher. Considering the teacher’s time limitation, we advise you not to do this. If you want to serve something special from your home country, please limit it to the drinks or light snacks. According to many Japanese mothers, they usually serve tea and cookies/crackers. But please check the food/drink policy in your school, some schools asked the parents to provide nothing for the homeroom teacher.
Q4. My Japanese is very limited, what should I discuss with the teacher?
You can ask an interpreter to help you! (Check our database to find an interpreter nearby!). If you want to practice your Japanese, memo everything you want to ask or discuss. The teacher will speak very slowly if you don’t understand much Japanese. Don’t worry, they are very helpful! You can express your concerns but remember to make it short because they don’t have so much time to listen to your concerns!
Hope this helps!