Back To School Night is one of my favorite nights of the year, both as a teacher and as a parent. School events such as Back To School Night are valuable opportunities to get parents and family members inside schools and classrooms, and strengthen the bond amongst the community.
As I spoke to countless family members, parents expressed their gratitude for the work educators do every single day. They asked questions about class expectations and engaged in a few activities meant to support them in forming a part of our classroom culture and community. The following are a set of classroom resources I used during back to school night, but can also be used by all parents, at all times of the year:
- Let Your Kids Know You Believe
As a way to get families reflecting and thinking about the needs of individual students, I have parents write a quick note of encouragement for their student during back to school night. This note is written on an index card and includes any positive message parents want to communicate to their student. At the end of the evening, I read the messages and became reminded of the treasure that parents can be in the classroom, even at the high school level. Parents called their kids by their nicknames, wrote how much they believe in each one of them and reminded them that they are here to support and have nothing but love for them. A small note can go a long way, it can serve as a reminder and support when students need it the most.
- A box of tissues can go a long way.
On my whiteboard during Back To School Night, I stuck post its with small items that we could really use in the classroom. I wrote down items like tissue, napkins, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, among other small items classrooms run by quickly during the year. One box of tissue can go a long way, especially during a time where teachers are purchasing materials for classrooms out of pocket. I clearly mentioned to families that whatever support they can provide is welcomed and met with gratitude. Families were so eager to support and even stayed after to ask what other supplies could be helpful for the rest of the school year. Reach out to your child’s teacher and ask for small ways you can support the classroom community, a box of tissues can go a long way.
- Reach out and communicate, teachers love questions.
At the end of the night, I remind parents that their students’ education is a team effort and that in order to be a well-oiled machine working towards the success of their students, we need to work together. I offered my contact information and welcomed their questions and comments at any point throughout the school year. Even at the high school level, it’s crucial for families to be involved and have communication with teachers and staff. Reach out! Teachers love questions. If students see that parents are invested in their education and success, they will be too!
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