Survive Open House Without Hiding

Open house can be mind numbing and boring for specialists if they don't get busy. Several ways to pass the time are given as solutions.

You're a resource teacher in your school. You don't HAVE to be in your classroom or office all day because the parents and kids really want to meet their teachers. But, you have to be there. You have to keep your doors open for all of those former students who want to talk to you about much of nothing. You have to dress professionally and smile, even though you know the students aren't there for you. So, how do you pass the time and survive?


The Dilemma

As a reading specialist, I know this all too well. My first year I opened my door, thinking parents would want to know more. I had written a letter explaining what I did and had treats for the kids. I was ready to work from 12-7 and excited to meet the parents and students I might serve. I had about 3 parents stop by since I taught their students before, and they wanted to congratulate me on my new position. None of those students would need my help. I actually got a lot of work done for me that  day, but the time dragged on and on.

The next year I got a little more savvy. I put a table out front and greeted families, helping them get where they wanted. Again, no one really cared and just wanted to get where they wanted to go ~ to meet their teachers.

Last year I sat at the PTA table, trying to get parents to join, but very few bit the bait of the chance to win a t-shirt. And no one really cared that I was also telling them they needed to read with their kids.

The Solutions

What can we specialists do on Open House? Lots! We can make the day work for us!

Network

Go into the halls and classrooms and find parents who you know you will see throughout the year. Talk to them about their students. Find out what they did over the summer. Take the time to get to know more about what type of work you will need to do this school year with your students.

Help the students

Find a way to help students and parents as they maneuver the halls and find their classrooms. Our school has lockers for students in grades 3-5, so I find myself over that way helping students (and parents) as they open those pesky lockers.

Help in the office

The day can get busy, especially at the beginning of the day and after parents get off of work. Offer to help answer phones and help parents find their kids' bus numbers or classrooms. Be a runner for the office staff and go get them anything they need, even if it is a soda from the soda machine.

No matter what, the bottom line is you can help and be there, even when you don't feel like you are. I have only touched on a few, but what are some other ways specialists can be present throughout the school during open house?

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Open house can be mind numbing and boring for specialists if they don't get busy. Several ways to pass the time are given as solutions.


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