Sunday, July 31, 2011

5 Components of an Open House Culture

Open House Infographic (2)

Recently, I wrote a post defining what I call the Open House Culture.  Basically, an Open House Culture in your school does two things:

  1. Provides a guide to how you can be your best at all times.
  2. Creates a welcoming environment that causes others to take action to be a part of your school.

What I did not explore in the previous blog post are the various components to an Open House Culture.

The 5 components to an Open House Culture are represented in the graphic above.

  • Friendly
  • Trustworthy and Reliable
  • Responsive
  • Interactive
  • Presentations

Briefly defined…

Friendly:  If you genuinely like being an educator, let everyone know from the first impression (if you do not, find another line of work).  Smile.  Produce more “happy endorphins.”  Dress professionally and/or appropriately.  Greet everyone with an implied invitation to engage rather than to “get this over with.”

Trustworthy and Reliable:  Answer your emails and messages.  Keep your appointments with students and parents.  Have a reliable syllabus.  Students secretly want to cont on a consistent and reliable experience in your class, even if that experience is more rigorous than most.  Reliability is important.  Trust is vital.  Without trust, you cannot lead.  Teachers are leaders.  No leadership?  Your class will never have the impact students deserve. 

Responsive:  Be a great listener.  Empathize and create possibilities.  Guide people to accomplish their goals.  Be prepared for your lesson to succeed and to hit a roadblock.  Build up you “tool box of skills” so you can react quickly and appropriately.  Embrace change and engage in professional development.

Interactive:  Remember that scene in National Lampoon’s European Vacation when the Griswold family can’t get out of the roundabout in London?  “Look kids; Big Ben, Parliament.”  If your class or open house event feels like this, change it.  Interactive makes connections, connections strengthen relationships, strong relationships have documented evidence of being a major component to great teaching and learning.

Presentations:  Stop reading your slides!  Enchantment rule – 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font.  Explore multimedia options.  Invite your audience to participate in the presentation.  Look for clues that you have them hooked (eyes wide, laughing, shaking head in agreement or disagreement, etc.) or losing them (gazing out the window, looking at watch, nodding off to sleep, blank stares, etc.).


These 5 components can guide either an individual teacher, a department, a division, or an entire school to developing an Open House Culture.  If you have any stories or experience with any of these components, I would love to hear from you.  Feel free to either send me an email at or leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!

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