Every year I struggle a little as I prepare for Open House. I have thirty minutes with the parents and I want to make the trip and the time spent worth it.
I think it is important for parents to know me, the human, a little. I want them to know that, like many of them, I am a full-time working mom who is raising two teenagers alongside my husband. I need them to know that I am struggling. I don’t have all the answers. I often get it wrong. I won’t judge them when they falter. We really are all in it together. I know all parents do their best. I know how hard the work is.
I also want the parents to know that I will help to make the year stress free for their child and for them. Stress impacts learning in a really negative way. I’ll do my very best to alleviate stress before it becomes a problem. I'll work to not be the cause of stress. This does not mean to say that the year will be easy.
If all goes as planned. The year will be very hard.
I explain that all kids should be working very hard to meet my high expectations for them. The work should be challenging and it should be a struggle to do the work well. In fact, I’m hoping that before long, students are working hard and struggling to meet THEIR OWN high expectations of themselves. I tell the parents to contact me right away if their child becomes frustrated or seems to be coasting along. Frustration and boredom do not yield growth.
But what about curriculum? In the past, I’ve taken time to outline each core curriculum in detail. This is typically when I look out and notice a glazed over look in their eyes. Now, instead, I’ll name our core curriculums but then quickly get to the heart of the matter. In our classroom:
Mostly, parents need to understand that their child will have a place in our classroom. They need to know that their child belongs. Taking time to explain the things that set our classroom apart helps parents to feel at ease. I’ll explain:
This was my twenty-fifth attempt at Open House. I’m not sure I nailed it this year. I know it was better than last year. I hope it was worth the time that parents so generously spent. I have quite a few Open Houses ahead of me. I’m committed to continuous improvement.