Have a successful Parent's Night {and a FREE Math pennant}

3 tips for a successful back to school parent's night

I have worked for some great principals. My first principal lead with tough love for both students and faculty. He epitomized Growth Mindset and saw us as whole people who made mistakes. Mistakes meant we were trying and that we cared, and this was all that really mattered to him. 

Back when I first started teaching, classroom management was a real struggle for me. In fact it still can be, though thankfully not as bad as it had been back then. I may have switched careers long ago if my classroom management never improved! 

When I tell you I didn't even know what a warm-up was... it was that bad. My principal saw my strengths and allowed me time to strengthen my weaknesses. It felt good to work for someone who believed I could improve. I improved a lot there.

The best teaching advice I got from him was: 

"A good curriculum is the best classroom management." 

This has stuck with me. When kids are engaged, there's little need for discipline because kids feel successful. This advice drives my teaching and the lessons and activities I create for my students. 

As a Special Education teacher, I work with a lot of parents. I hold a lot of meetings and am in constant communication with home. Sometimes parent interactions completely frustrate me and I don't feel I can be diplomatic. This is where the second piece of advice from my second principal comes in: 

"All a parent ever wants to know is that you like their kid." 

This advice became even more clear when I had my daughter. Now that she is in school, all I really care about is that she is happy and that she knows her teachers like her. 

Taking this viewpoint completely changed the way I interact with parents. First and foremost, my job is to help students and help their parents feel that they have me in their corner. It's tough sometimes, but I always fall back on this valuable piece of advice when working with parents, especially the demanding ones. Because really, I may be that demanding parent someday. 

Even so, Parent's Night has always filled me with terror. Will the parents like me? Will I make a good first impression? Will I have answers to all of their questions? Is there something in my teeth? This is a big one. I once went through an entire interview with a chunk of cranberry sauce on my eyebrow. It was from my turkey sandwich. It was on MY EYEBROW. I didn't get the job.

"A good curriculum is the best classroom management."

On Parent's Night, I excitedly talk about our curriculum and all of the activities we do throughout the year.

"All parents ever want to know is that you like their kid."

I talk about my passion for math and how important it is for me to pass this passion on to my students. 

Some of my students' parents did not have the best experiences in school themselves, so to me, showing that I care enough to make my classroom an inspiring place to learn is important. I believe that part of communicating to parents that their kids are top priority is having an inviting classroom. This is a strong nonverbal way of saying, "I want your kids to be happy here." 

FREE Order of Operations math pennant

This free math pennant for order of operations would make a fun back to school classroom decor. Students complete the work on each pennant and color them. Parents always love seeing their kids' work displayed.

Lastly is some advice I got from a colleague after relaying the goings on of a difficult class: 

"When things get tough, I tell myself I can do anything for an hour." 

In my school, parents travel to each of their kid's classes for just 15 minutes during Parent's Night. I can handle that!

Scaffolded Math and Science blog

No comments:

Post a Comment