It’s that time of year again…you’ve had a bit of a break and now your mind is going wild with ideas for the new school year. To keep your time and efforts focused (and your stress levels down), I’ve created a list of 20 things to do to prepare for the new school year.
Back to school season is stressful, can we all agree? I remember when I was a new teacher and the thought of Open House was terrifying to me (I mean, it’s still fairly stress inducing, but I’ve found ways to minimize that). Dozens of parents in one room staring at you (with what feels like a far more critical eye than their students) is enough to make anyone feel the pressure. It was always important to me to make a good impression during Open House so it could set the tone for the year. It is the first point of contact for many parents, after all.
Something that really helped calm my nerves was to make sure that I had an informational and professional looking handout that I could give to parents that gave them all of the necessecary information they’d like to know in one place. It also helped ME by giving my 15 minutes with them during Open House structure and I was really comforted by having something tangible to reference that they could all see with me.
I wanted something parents could physically take home with them because going to open house is overwhelming, especially if they have multiple children. I chose to make a short flyer that covers the biggest takeaways for the class and I wanted it to be something they could look back to over the school year as a reference for the course (where to contact, ways to get help, ect.). This flyer doesn’t contain all of the information for each class, though. Once school actually starts, I’ll send home a syllabus with all of the nitty-gritty details.
Although still a bit stressful, I love open house because I get a chance to meet parents face to face prior to confrences over Thanksgiving (that’s a long, long way into the year), and I like having the chance to speak about required materials before the year begins. I’ve been shopping for school supplies for long enough that I know most of the deals and can let parents know the best places to shop for what. I know money is tight for a lot of people, so this is also a chance to talk about priorotizing and what the school has a limited supply of for students who need it. For example, our school has a small amount of calculators that can be checked out for the year from the library, but a lot of students don’t know about it! This is the perfect thing to discuss prior to the school year starting.
I’m also a fan of Open House because I have the chance to tell parents about the many ways students can get help throughout the year and give them an idea of what the classload will be. On the back side of the flyer (not pictured), I photocopy some school-specific information about how to access the online textbook and I print a HUGE picture of a few calculators I’d reccomend buying/checking out, if they don’t already have one.
Here’s the flyer I’ve used year after year. I’ve tweaked it to work perfectly for each of my classes!
If you’d like to use my open house flyer in your classroom, I’ve got good news for you! It’s an exclusive freebie for the Math by the Mountain Club! It’s 100% editable so you can customize it to your exact needs. Join here!
On top of that flyer, I’ve also made a whole Open House Kit that you will receive, for free! You’ll get a PowerPoint presentation (totally editable, of course) and a sign-in sheet for parents to use and for you to collect up-to-date contact info!