It’s already that bittersweet time of year again. You are getting ready to ship your precious little one off to the land of crayons, recess, and homework. But first, you get to meet the lovely person with whom your child will be spending the next nine months. Some schools call it clever names like “Sneak Peek” or “Open House.” Let’s just call it what is really is, awkward.
I’ve been a teacher for four years now, and this is the one night that gets me every time. The kids are nervous about whether their friends are in their class or not. The teacher is hoping everything goes smoothly. The parents are trying to figure out if this teacher is going to be a good fit. I imagine this is what speed dating is like…
Here are some tips to help ease the “Meet the Teacher Night” awkwardness.
1. Arrive Early
There will be at least 20 other parents vying for the teacher’s attention. If you arrive right at the start of Open House, you have a better chance of catching her alone and with a fresh mind. It is almost impossible for the teacher to try to remember what you are saying when there is a line of parents behind you waiting. Also, you don’t want to be the last parent. Her short term memory has shut down at that point. Trust me.
2. Sign Up
It’s totally cool if you can’t sign up to be room mom or have a recurring role on field trip day, but at least sign up for the email/text/Facebook list. This keeps you in the loop regarding what’s going on in class, what the kids have coming up, and cool things going on around the school.
3. Be Nice
I get it. Your sister’s friend’s son was in my class last year and you heard that I eat children for lunch. I promise you that just like at your job, gossip is most of the time just gossip. Please be nice to your child’s teacher. While I will admit there are always a few bad apples, most of us really do love children and only want to see your child thrive! Give us a chance. You might find that we prefer chicken salad and crackers for lunch.
4. Send a Note
If I could sing this from the rooftops, your windows would be cracking right now. Please remember that we met with at least 20 other parents on Sneak Peek Night. I really try my best to jot down what parents say and put it into action, but it doesn’t always happen. During the first week of school, please send us a note or email with the information we discussed that night. It is super helpful and ensures your child’s needs will be met quickly and appropriately.
5. Tour the School
This is your opportunity to run through the halls like a 1980s classic movie. Please don’t do that. However, please take this opportunity to get to know the facilities. This can be very helpful information later on for conferences, classroom observations, awards ceremonies, etc. Plus, I’m sure your child would love to show you where they go to art, P.E., and lunch! This is their home for seven hours a day during the school year. Let them see your interest!
I know parents, teachers, and kids all over the country are preparing to return to school for a great year! If no one else has told you this, we are excited to see their faces on the first day and even more excited to watch them grow over the next year!