Ain’t No Party like an Open House Party
When we moved five years ago, I was nervous. Bug was starting a new school and I knew nothing about it or the area. I enrolled him in soccer that summer just so he would have a chance to meet some of the kids he would be going to school with. That worked out well but I knew I could take it a step further.
Like many schools, ours has an open house. If you’re not familiar with one or have never been, do it. It’s an informal way to get to know the school your child is attending, the teachers and administrators in it, and also a way to meet some of the other parents too.
When we go to an open house it’s a flurry of going from room to room, introducing yourself to teachers, other parents, finding your child’s seat and then unloading any school supplies you brought. We’re lucky that our school allows and encourages us to bring school supplies and even checks for fees on open house night. It cuts out the confusion and the craziness of the first day of school.
Still, I often feel like open house night is like party hopping with a severe alcohol buzz. You’re excited, nervous, you’re trying to keep track of everything and everyone (trying not to lose a kid or two) and by the time you get home you have additional paperwork to fill out as well as checking your calendar to see how many class parties to put yourself down for and TRY not to confuse the dates with the other kids’ parties. It’s pure and utter madness. I get writer’s cramp just thinking of all the forms I have to fill out.
My problem is that there never seems to be enough time at the open house to talk to the teachers. They are just as busy because there’s a line of parents waiting to introduce themselves, talk about their kids, ask questions about the classroom… you name it, they want to know!
Now when we go to open house night, I take a small notepad and pen with me. I make sure to get the teacher’s name and proper spelling. I also ask her if he or she has an email address. Once I have those two pieces of info… I’m all set. I make sure to write down any questions I have for the teacher or observations and then tuck it safely away until I get home.
Usually the day after open house, I email the teacher and reintroduce myself. I let him or her know when I’m available to help out in the classroom and I ask any questions that I may have had but didn’t think of when I was there. I also let her know a little bit about my son or daughter. I know that the teachers talk to each other and fill each other in on students and personality but I’m still a firm believer that no one knows my kid better than me. By doing this, I open up the line of communication with the teacher and it also lets them know that I’m an involved parent.
It’s not about getting a chance to toot my own horn or my kid’s; they’ll find out soon enough what they are like! Instead it’s about getting your foot in the door and off on the right foot with the person who’s helping to mold and shape your child’s education. To me, that’s the best start I can have.