Tips and Tricks for Managing your Parent Information Night
So, you’ve been given the date for your Parent Information Night but what do you do now? What information do you need to share with your parents? What do they want to hear?
It can seem a little overwhelming. After putting so much energy into organising your classroom and usually only just having met your students, that you then need to now front up to their parents and act like you’ve got it all together (when in fact you feel like you are just keeping your head above water with everything else that has been thrown at you for the start of the school year).
Well never fear! Let me walk you through it with some tips and advice from a teacher that has been through the process a few too many times now 🙂
Before the Night:
– Send home an invitation inviting parents to come along. This may seem like an obvious step but it is a beautiful personal touch that goes beyond what the school provides in terms of communication. It immediately communicates to parents that you are willing to go that extra mile for them and their students. You may like to use the invitation template in our Free Resource Library.
– Prepare a PowerPoint outlining the the main points you want to cover. Again I have prepared a template for you in our Free Resource Library if you would like to use it.
– Have some work on display for parents to see. It probably sounds a bit obvious but it is nice for parents to have something to actually come and see when they come to your classroom (apart from you of course). It will also give them something to do while you are welcoming other parents into the classroom.
On the Night:
– Try to be fully organised while your parents are arriving. You don’t want to be fiddling with PowerPoints and throwing out student work while your parents are arriving. You can imagine the disorganised tone this may send.
– Welcome parents as they arrive at your classroom door. You don’t have to do this but I think it is a nice personal touch that cements your desire to get to know your parents and is just generally a respectful way of welcoming people to your classroom. It also allows you to give them some brief instructions on what they can be doing while you are continuing to welcome other parents into the room, ie, viewing student work, filling in the getting to know you form, having a look around the classroom, etc.
– Have a sign in sheet and hand out a get to know you form. The sign in sheet doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be as simple as a classroom list that your parents tick off as they walk through the door. This just helps you know who has attended so you can follow up with those that haven’t. The getting to know you form also assists in helping you understand your parents and students and their needs.
– Greet your parents with a welcome treat. I have always left a little gift for my parents to enjoy as they’ve either walked through the door, exited at the end or left on the table in front of them. This may be as simple as bottles of water or Minties in a bowl or a packet of Parent Vitamins.
During the Night:
– BE BRIEF!!! You don’t want your presentation to drag on. These parents have potentially attended other parent information nights throughout the week or on the same night, keep things brief. They don’t need to know everything about every detail of the curriculum. They just need a brief outline.
– BE YOURSELF!!! If you are anything like me, speaking in front of 30 children is a breeze in comparison to speaking in front of even 3 adults, let alone a whole classroom full. Remember, you are the expert in your field, regardless of how many years you have been teaching. Just be yourself. They will appreciate getting to know your honest self.
– Don’t feel you have to take questions at the end or even during your presentation. Although if you don’t want to take public questions make sure you have explained this from the start. They need to know you are willing to take questions but for them to either see you one on one or direct their questions in writing via email.
– OR you may like to have a question box ready for those who have a burning question on their mind. This is also good for those parents who can’t hang around after the night has finished or for when you are caught chatting to other parents. Parents can leave their questions and contact details for you get back to them as soon as possible.
I hope this has truly helped ease your stress about your upcoming Parent Information Night. Remember to grab all the printables mentioned above in our Free Resource Library.