Remember when back to school night involved folding yourself into one of those tiny little desks and listening to the teacher go on about appropriate snacks? It seemed so monumental then, and rarely did a parent miss it. As your child travels through high school, I urge you to treat back to school night with the same priority, because believe it or not, it might be even more important now.
Some schools host all parents in the auditorium, but more and more, schools invite parents to follow their child’s own schedule and meet with each teacher for 10 or so minutes. Either way, you are bound to glean important information that your child might not readily share.
Here are our top back to school night ideas:
- Bring their schedule so you know where to go.
- Find out their locker number so you can get a sense of how far they have to travel between classes.
- Check out the library, theater, gym, eating areas, etc., to get a feel for the campus.
- Read the posters, flyers and news clippings on the wall. It’s a great way to get a sense for the school community as a whole.
- Show up at each class on time!
- Get a copy of the class rules so you know what your child is expected to know; i.e. does late work count?
- Get a copy of the syllabus so you know what will be covered in class.
- Find out how the teacher grades – what percent of each grade will be based on participation, tests, etc.
- Find out if the teacher posts assignments on a blog and how they prefer to communicate.
- Take notes of items your teacher has mentioned that your student should be doing; i.e. writing in a journal, doing outside reading, etc.
- Find out if there is a textbook or if the teacher relies on handouts or online resources.
- Check to see what their office hours are, if your child needs extra help.
- Check out what other parents are in the class to determine what friends your child shares different periods with.
- Introduce yourself to parents you are sitting near if you don’t know any.
- Ask questions if you don’t understand something or have more questions about grading systems or other ‘whole class’ issues. Don’t ask about issues specific to your child, or monopolize the conversation.
- Introduce yourself to the teacher on the way out. They appreciate being able to put a name with a face.
- Sign up for any special email communication the teacher or school sends out.
- See if clubs, like drama, Booster club, Robotics, etc., have tables of information and check it out.
- Meet the guidance counselor and principal, if you have time.
- Just take a moment to take it all in—remember what it was like to be in high school and realize how fast these years will go for your child.
Did we miss anything? What are some things you found helpful to do at your child’s back to school night?