Ready for Parent Night? These tips can help make it a breeze.
“Meet the Teacher,” “Curriculum Night,” “Parent’s Night” whatever you call it, it can be stressful. Parents you might not see for the rest of the year are going to visit with you for maybe just a few minutes…yet they’ll be judging what kind of teacher you are!
No pressure, right?!
Here are a few Parent Night tips to make the event a bit easier:
Put yourself in the parents’ shoes
Whether you have children of your own or not, you can stop for a moment and consider what parents want and need.
Why are they coming to Meet the Teacher night? What do they really want?
Parents are curious
Parents are curious about you!
They want to know that their child is in good hands. Be sure to tell the parents a bit about yourself.
Make your own “All About Me” poster for your door. Show them that you are a competent teacher by focusing on your achievements, but that you also have interesting hobbies outside of school (you do, don’t you??) Smile and relax!
Parents want to know you are skilled
Even if this is your very first year of teaching or in a particular grade, you are a professional and you have skills.
Show them by:
Thinking of the event as an opportunity to show parents how you teach.
Do you create videos for flipping your class? Consider doing that for your presentation.
If you use task cards, small group work, or workshop-based lessons, you can show parents samples or even photos of their children working in these different ways.
Create a “brag” show Prezi or PowerPoint that scrolls through photos of your students at work.
Practice what you want to say and use note cards. In my school, we have twenty minutes to talk to the parents before they move on to the next class. That time goes by really fast, but if you talk too fast…you may end up staring at a room full of parents and have nothing to say! A bit of practice will make you feel confident.
Provide parents with the information they want. They don’t need a ream of paper.
Create a bookmark or even business card that contains essential information: how to reach you, how to log onto your class blog, how to get homework, where to find grades.
If you have more information to share, consider creating a brochure, or provide parents with a simple yearlong plan.
Find out who is there
Create a sign in roster.
Make it easy for parents to quickly sign in. Print up a list of student names and a line for parent signatures.
Don’t pass around a clipboard for parents to sign if you are giving a talk. That is distracting and parents won’t be listening if they’re writing. Make it easy for parents to sign in as they walk into your classroom. Your school office should be able to provide you with email and phone numbers if you need that.
Why do you want this?
Getting parent signatures is helpful — especially if you need to authenticate a signature later in the year.
Be set up and ready
Test all your technology and make sure it’s ready to go.
This goes back to the first points — if you are prepared and organized, parents will feel confident in you.
Set up a feeling of partnership
Parents are interested in their children! And teachers are part of the team that will make a difference.
Make sure you convey to parents how to communicate with you and how you can help them make this year the best for their child.
A bit of goodwill at the start of the year can go a long way and help diminish problems later on.
By following these Parent Night tips, you’ll be establishing yourself as an authority and partner.
You are probably already off to a great start to the school year —
a successful Parent’s Night will just be icing on the cake!
Looking for more teaching tools to make your life easier? I have several ready-to-go lessons in my shop!