If you recently landed a long term substitute teaching position for the new school year, congratulations! While lesson planning and classroom set up are likely on your mind, it's important not to forget that your first interaction with parents is also just over the horizon. Most schools schedule an open house during the first month back so that parents have the opportunity to meet their children's teachers and collect basic information from teachers that is crucial for success during the school year. For you as the teacher, open house is your chance to make a good first impression and foster a relationship between school and home.
Keep in mind that parents will visit multiple teachers throughout open house. Create a pamphlet or handout with essential dates and classroom information to distribute to your parents. They will be able to review it after the excitement of open house has subsided. Also, be sure to include your contact information on the handout to further encourage parents to take an active role in their children's education. During the event, some parents will try to turn open house into an individual parent teacher conference. If this happens, your time will be monopolized and you will not be able to speak with all of your parents. If a parent approaches you with specific questions about grades, test scores, or skill levels, keep your response general and try to redirect the conversation back to the class as a whole. If the parent persists, encourage her to schedule a formal parent teacher conference to best address her concerns. Open house can be an intimidating event, especially for new teachers or substitutes. Don't let that be the case! Use it as an opportunity to show parents that you care about their children and that you are excited to have them as students in your class. This kind of attitude will guarantee a successful school year.
Have you experienced an open house from that teacher's perspective?