As a parent who has now sat through four years of my son’s back to school nights, I have gained some insight. So, I thought I’d ask around and see what other parents had to say about the back to school nights they’ve attended. This is what I found:
1. Parents want a concise presentation. Think bullet points. Our brains can only take so much information in at one time, so deliver the main points. Your audience is exhausted after a full day, and they possibly have several meet the teacher evenings to attend. Of course, we (as teachers) are exhausted too! However, we’re operating on the adrenaline of presenting to a room full of people.
2. Limit the paperwork passed out. It’s hard to grasp the most important information from a mountain of handouts. There’s a temptation to deliver ALL the information. “It’s my one shot”…. No, it’s not. Outline the basic information and share links so they can find out more if they are interested. This way no one can fault you for leaving something out, and 99% of the group will thank you.
3. Parents are also looking for specific goals the teacher would like to see the kids meet. They want to be able to help their child reach these goals at home. Make sure the goals are concrete and succinct. This makes them manageable. Again, think bullet points. As long as you have gathered a list of emails, set up Class Dojo or the like, you will have a way to touch base and share more info as needed throughout the year.
4. If you really want to get families excited, tell them what makes you and your class unique. Did you have another profession before teaching? Are you into astronomy? Do you practice mindfulness or yoga? Have you traveled much? Share any hobbies or interests that might add to the class.
5. At the end of the night, everyone appreciates authentic excitement the most. When a parent can see that the teacher truly cares and is excited about teaching, they start to feel like they won the teacher jackpot!
Keep these ideas in mind when outlining your presentation, and you’ll be on the right track to Back to School Night Success! I know many of you teach & have children too. I’d love to hear how your experiences have changed the way you host back to school nights. Please leave your ideas in the comments below. Here’s to a new year of wonderful families. 🙂