I'm linking up with Lizzie again from The Big Kids' Hall to talk about how to prepare for Open House. As a parent of three children, I remember being amazed at how nervous some teachers were at Open Houses. I heard a teacher say "I'd much rather stand in front of a room full of third graders than a room full of parents." That had never occurred to me.
There's no question that it can be hard to talk on an equal level with adults who are older than you. But you will be getting to know their child well this year! And they need to know that you're in their camp. Here's what I would suggest if you find yourself worrying about your first Open House.
Make the event interactive. Have your students write their parents a letter or draw them a picture. Then, have parents write them back.
One year, I had students bring in a favorite shirt and pants. Then they drew a picture of themselves on a paper plate. We attached the head, stuffed the clothing with newspapers, and let parents find their child's desk that way. Fun!
Don't bore your parents with a long PowerPoint! Most of them are coming from a full day's work, have rushed home to feed their kids, and now are sitting in tiny desks in a crowded room! When I became a teacher, I had one slide that included my educational background, and 2-3 more with relevant information. Now, I just highlight a couple of things I want parents to know.
If you are nervous, it helps to have something to work from, instead of just standing in front of the room, talking.
I've mentored a number of younger teachers over the years. Some of them are pretty casual, which kids like (for a while) but that isn't the way to go for Open House. Make the evening relaxing, but dress professionally. Maybe even step it up a bit for this evening. I never wear a suit to work - honestly, I'm almost always in pants because I'm on the floor with my students every day. Yes, even sixth graders.
But for Open House? Yeah, I don't want to give anyone a silly reason to wonder about me. So I step it up a notch - nothing crazy, just professional. I suggest you do the same.