The end of summer for teachers is usually packed with PD days, planning, making copies, organizing, planning, rearranging, maybe even painting, did we mention planning? You plan your first week of lessons. You plan fun activities to get to know your students. You plan out your seating charts and desk orientations. But before the first day of school, you have to get ready for your big night: Open House!
Your first first impression will be when parents and students participate in Open House. No matter what it looks like, this first point of contact can set the tone for the year. You may already know some of your students or have even taught them before, but this is still the first impression of the year. A new level or content area, curriculum or set of activities can make it a completely different experience for a student and you!
If you are looking for some fun new ideas to make your Open House welcoming and organized, check out this blog!
What if your orientation night is virtual? Consider some of these ideas:
- Record live sessions and have them on demand for families who weren’t able to make it. (Keep privacy policies in mind – blur faces and names and make edits as necessary)
- Have a simple, easy-to-use platform to publish information
- Make it fun and interactive when possible!
- Allow questions and/or create breakout rooms for specific topics
After the brief introductions during Open House, it’s time to really get to know your students in class. And they’ll want to get to know you as well! We know the first few days are usually filled with icebreaker activities and other ways to learn about your students. Think about getting them writing from the get-go. Prompts and other ideas to get you first impressions of your students’ writing can be found here.
We would also encourage you to share some of your own writing with your classes. This will help them see you as their teacher but as a person as well. In these strange pandemic days, we know that social-emotional learning is just as important as any curriculum. Opening yourself up in this simple way may have a bigger impact on your students than you may ever know.
Make your first impressions lasting impressions!