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A high school “Back to School Night” or Open House is an opportunity for parents to follow a child’s schedule and to meet a child’s teacher. For the teacher, it is an opportunity to share course expectations, course syllabus, materials needed, and class culture.
Some tips for teachers
- BE YOURSELF: The parents are attending because they are supportive of their child. Share your educational background and educational philosophy. Let the parents see your teaching style. Do not change who you are for one night. You are perfect. Just be yourself.
- FOLLOW SCHOOL GUIDELINES: Often administrators will share what MUST be shared. BE SURE TO INCLUDE THIS IN YOUR PRESENTATION. This might include office hours, grading policy, homework expectations, and what content will be covered. If the school administrators do not have any requirements, seek out a teacher you trust and respect for advice on what is useful to share.
- COURSE EXPECTATIONS / BE HONEST: At a high school, there usually is a wide range of course offerings from challenging AP programs to programs designed for at-risk students. Share what will be required to be successful in your classroom. Back to School Night is early in the academic year, so some parents might recognize that your class might not be the best fit for the student and a possible course change might happen.
- PARENT INFORMATION CARD: Some teachers find that creating an information card is very useful. You can include the basic information guardian’s name like contact information, and the student’s name. A teacher also could leave a section to allow the parent to share any information that they feel a teacher should know. It could be as simple as “3 things I should know about the student.”
- SHARE AN ACTIVITY: Conducting a class activity could be a bit challenging, but it will give the parents an opportunity to TRULY experience what it is like to be in your classroom. It also will make for a memorable experience for the parent that is different from other presentations.
- PREPARE A POWERPOINT / GOOGLE SLIDESHOW: Creating a slideshow is a good way to make sure all the important information is covered. This also could be sent to be shared with any parents who may not be able to attend the Back To School night. A teacher can update the slides if necessary.
- USE CLASS SEATING CHART: Part of Back to School Night is to have parents gain an understanding of a student’s typical day. What better way to do this than to place them in the actual seat of a student? The parent can see the neighboring student’s parents and also gain a perspective into how the student sees the teacher presenting material
- PROVIDE CONTACT INFORMATION: Share your email and any social media that you might use with your class. Parents may want to follow up with an email or meeting about their child.
- THANK THE PARENTS FOR COMING: Thank the parents for taking the time to participate in the student’s education. Support from home is critical for academic success and the education of the whole child.
- HAVE A GREAT LESSON FOR THE NEXT DAY: Back to School Night can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. It is one of the longest days of the school year with challenges of eating, commuting, and figuring out daycare and doggy / pet care. Be sure to have a day planned that might involve quiet, student-centered work. A test might also be a good option, but that creates the additional burden of correcting. (High School Psychology Lessons & US History Lessons)