Open House is a highly anticipated event for teachers and parents. Kim Rhodes, TeacherReady® Instructor, held a webinar to help teachers host a successful Open House where they can establish a bond with parents. Rhodes shared some of her best tips for maximizing Open House as the first opportunity to really connect with parents.
Why is the teacher-parent connection so important?
Open House, for most parents or caregivers, is the first time to meet their child’s teacher. This first impression makes a huge difference: for the teacher, the parent, and the student. Students are most successful when parents and teachers are both invested in their education. It is part of a teacher’s job to build a relationship of trust and respect with each student’s parent. Teachers can use Open House to gain a parent’s support through the school year. Teachers should set a tone of positivity and encouragement. When you start on a positive note, you are more likely to continue on that path.
The 4 Steps to a Successful Open House
First parental contact
Call parents before Open House. Invite them to visit your classroom. This consideration, alone, can help create positive relationships with parents.
Be personal. Parents want you to know their child as an individual. Let them know that you are excited to have their child in your class, and share something that you’ve learned about their child: “I can already tell that it is going to be a fun year with Andrew in my third period science class. He told us about your trip to the Smithsonian, this summer, and he is so eager to learn more!”
Describe your learning environment. Take time to explain that your classroom is a safe and inviting environment, set up to aid students in their learning process.
Open House pre-prep
Prepare ahead of time. Have materials available to guide parents through Open House. A presentation, agenda, syllabus, and handouts are all great to have.
Display student work. Let parents see what their child is learning and doing each day. Plan for an opportunity to show parents their child’s textbook and lesson curriculum.
Open House communication
Parents want to feel comfortable and welcomed into their child’s classroom. During the Open House, make eye contact when interacting with parents. Give them time to ask questions and to get involved in their child’s classroom.
Open House follow-up
You still have some work to do, following the event. Within a week, send thank you notes to parents who attended. Send out a packet of your Open House materials to parents who were not able to attend. Consider enlisting your students to help create a class newsletter for a monthly connection that will keep parents in the loop and engage students.
End of the Year Open House
Consider incorporating these same tips, to host an End of the Year Open House. At this event, ask students to lead presentations or discussions on their top learnings and favorite lesson artifacts.
We’ve started an Open House Pin Board: https://www.pinterest.com/WhosEngaged/open-house/
Watch the entire Kim Rhodes’ webinar, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=162_xqjJ1OA&t=13s
Featured Image: luckylittlelearners.blogspot.ca