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Open House Dos and Don'ts: What Not to Do to Make a Lasting Impression

Welcome, educators, to the nerve-wracking yet exciting event known as Open House. It's that time of the year when parents, students, and faculty gather to kick off the academic journey ahead. 

Amidst the excitement, it's important to tread carefully to ensure a memorable and productive experience. So, let's explore the dos and don'ts of your Open House to help you set the tone for the school year.

Setting the Stage: The Dos of Open House

The night of your Open House, your classroom will be warm, welcoming, and buzzing with energy. As parents and students trickle in, greet them with a genuine smile and a warm handshake. 

A simple gesture can instantly break the ice and make everyone feel at ease. Remember, your students and families are just as nervous to meet you as you are to meet them. 

Preparedness: The Key to Success

One of the most important dos of Open House is to be prepared. Ensure your classroom is organized, tidy, and decorated with displays ready to showcase student work and achievements. This reflects your commitment to your students and gives parents a glimpse into their child's learning journey.

And remember, your classroom does not need to be Pinterest-perfect! 

Interactive Engagement: Making Connections

Engage your students and their families. Instead of bombarding parents with lengthy lectures, involve them in interactive activities that shed light on your teaching methods and classroom dynamics. 

Consider setting up stations where parents and students can participate in fun, hands-on learning experiences. This fosters a sense of community and gives parents valuable insights into your teaching approach.

Steer Clear: The Don'ts of Open House

Now, let's steer clear of the don'ts.

Avoid overwhelming parents with information overload. Instead of bombarding them with a barrage of handouts and PowerPoint presentations, focus on the essentials. Keep it concise, clear, and relevant.

Your Open House is really about your students meeting you, finding their classroom, and exploring the school. 

Dialogue, Not Monologue

Avoid turning your Open House into a solo performance. 

Encourage dialogue, questions, and feedback from parents and students. After all, education is a collaborative effort that needs communication and mutual understanding.

Authenticity Breeds Trust

Avoid putting on a facade or pretending to be someone you're not. 

Authenticity breeds trust, laying the foundation for meaningful relationships with parents and students. Share your passion, quirks, and stories that make you unique as an educator.

Allow students to view your desk area. Ensure you have a picture or two of your family, pets, hobbies, or vacations so they can get to know you better. 

Tips for Success

Here are a few actionable tips to make your Open House successful:

  1. Scavenger Hunt: Set up a classroom scavenger hunt where parents and students can explore different learning stations and displays. This keeps them engaged and provides valuable insights into your classroom environment. 

  2. Create Take-Home Resources: Provide parents with take-home resources that offer insights into classroom expectations, curriculum highlights, and ways to support learning at home. This is meant to be reviewed at home, not during the Open House.

  3. Foster Parent-Teacher Partnerships: Encourage parents to sign up for volunteer opportunities or involvement in school committees during your Open House.

  4. Showcase Technology: Highlight how technology is integrated into your classroom during your Open House. Set up demonstrations of educational apps, online resources, or interactive whiteboard activities that demonstrate how technology enhances student learning and engagement.

  5. Solicit Student Insight: Invite parents to provide insights into their child's behavior and preferences. Pass out a simple comment card with questions like: Does your student prefer to sit in the front or back of the classroom? Does your student need frequent wiggle breaks? Does your student have a preferred candy?

  6. Provide Networking Opportunities: Create opportunities for informal networking during your Open House. Set up designated areas where parents can mingle, exchange contact information, and connect with other families. Building a sense of community and camaraderie among parents can strengthen your support networks.

Building Bridges Through Open House

Your Open House serves as a bridge connecting educators, parents, and students. It's a moment where the foundations of trust, communication, and collaboration are laid for the academic year ahead. 

You can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere by embracing the dos, steering clear of the don'ts, and implementing our tips. So, take a deep breath, put your best foot forward, and let the journey begin.


Written by Brooke Lektorich

Education World Contributor

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