Thursday, August 2, 2012

School Open House

You've rocked out your first days at school and a week or two have gone by.  Now it's time for school open house to discuss your courses with the parents of your students.  This will be your first impression on the parents for your classes and thus is an important step.

While it may be intimidating or scary or many other things, what I have found is important to keep in mind is that the parents are on your side and you all want the student to succeed.  Thus, you not only want to convey what is involved in your class but what parents should expect.  One of the things I did before and am still doing which was successful is to have pieces of paper or index cards, simply something to write on and something to write with for the parents.  As the walk in, have it written on the board and ask them to share important contact information and at least one thing that they would like to share with you about their child.  This can range from an unknown hobby to a concern.  I find that this helps open the dialogue between you and the parents and it conveys important information to you as a teacher about the student.

It is also important to come in prepared as you typically only have a short time to convey all of your information.  You want to summarize the main points of your class such as what it covers, what it prepares students for, as well as grading and homework.  If possible, try not to be too rushed and leave a little time on at the end to answer any questions that parents may have.  It's also nice to introduce yourself.  Include what classes you teach, some of your background like experience and school, and anything else you think is important.  This just gives the parents an idea of who is teaching their child and helps to open the dialogue.  In my first year of teaching, when introducing myself in included my education, a little about my student teaching, a little on my philosophy of teaching, and went in to was entailed in my class.  This was followed up by questions which were well done by the parents.  During the year, this first communication helped with further ones when they took place.  And of course, remember to relax.

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