Preparing for Open House
Open house is different from parent/teacher conferences. During open house, a high school usually runs through the entire schedule allotting about ten minutes per class. Schools that run on an A/B schedule usually have all four A classes and then all four B classes. Open house usually occurs within the first month or so of school so you’ll need to prepare for open house while you’re still in the thick of the first few weeks.
Parents come to open house for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is you.
Parents want to know who you are. They want to be able to picture their child sitting in your class. They also want to know what their child will be learning in your class. Sometimes parents come to open house because they want to tell you something specific about their child. For example, that they struggle staying on task, but don’t have an IEP or 504.
So how do you prepare for open house?
I like to have copies of the syllabus on hand. A short PowerPoint or printed list can also be helpful to keep you on track and give you something to talk about. If you choose to have a slideshow start by having a slide projected with the class name and your name as parents enter the room (i.e. Dual Enrollment English: K. Trace). It will help them know that they are in the right place. Schools can be a very large mess of confusing hallways and identical staircases for people who are not there on a daily basis.
Introduce yourself with your full name, i.e. Kathleen Trace, not Mrs. Trace. Whatever you do, don’t talk down to them. Treat them as if they are your boss, because in a way, they are. Your job is to help their children be successful. Focus on that and they will like you.
Trust me, you want them like you.
Some people believe that it doesn’t matter if the students or parents liked you, but I disagree wholeheartedly. I fully believe that one of the biggest keys to success in teaching is building positive relationships not just with the students, but with the parents as well.
Then have a couple of slides to remind you of what you need to talk about. Keep it short and sweet. Here is my presentations for Dual Enrollment and Journalism for this year: