That First Open House

Open House activitiesDo you remember your first school open house? Or do I need to ask Dr. Peabody and Sherman for their Wayback Machine again? Because I sure remember mine. Back then, I was the new deputy on the dusty streets of middle school, flush with the power of my own corner classroom and a license to teach language arts. In just a matter of a few weeks, I’d gone from some unknown quantity to the ruler of my domain, taking all my students along with me as they got to know my style, my expectations, my sense of humor.

It worked with the students. But Mr. Savelle Style was something quite a bit harder to convey to a group of skeptical parents in the span of just five minutes. No amount of classroom organization, fresh-out-of-the-wrapping bulletin board displays, or creative teacher resources was going to help. I was like a stand-up comedian dying on stage. Because I was a stand-up comedian dying on stage.

It had taken less than a week together for my students to understand me, my quirks, my sense of humor. They knew where to place completed homework, when to take out their books for independent reading, and why I tossed dry-erase markers across the room to differentiate “these” from “those.”

These parents, however? They were tough nuts to crack, if you’ll pardon the cliché. They must have heard something like “Mr. Savelle is so funny” or “Mr. Savelle throws his pens across his room” and wanted to see for themselves just who I thought I was. It was pretty intense at the front of the room under the hot lights that night. I was glad when it was over.

What are your classroom open house memories? What tip or activity would you never want to be without when parents come to your domain?

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