Open house night, which is sometimes called things like “Back to School Night,” or “Meet the Teacher Night” or something similar, is a chance for families to meet and talk with you, their child’s teacher. It’s also a chance for you to make a good first impression! So, what should you wear?
In general, business casual dress is a good baseline. This could look like khaki pants and a button down shirt or like a pencil skirt and nice blouse. At most events, you won’t be truly teaching students (though some schools have you do a bit of an “example lesson” with kids for parents’ benefit), but rather talking with parents as they come to tour your classroom. That means you can wear some “dressier” pieces that you might not usually want to get dry erase marker all over!
Schools have varied populations, and students are from all different backgrounds. What you see as stylish or trendy might be seen as “racy” or inappropriate by some families. Find a balance between wearing something your own style and still playing it super safe. I know, I know, this is no fun. There is a reason cardigan sweaters have been the go-to teacher style for decades! When families know you better, you don’t have to be as concerned that they will misinterpret your intentions, so you can show off your style a bit more as the year progresses as long as you follow the school dress code.
Source: Flickr user Maegan Tintari
Always Be Professional
Your open house outfit is most likely a little dressier than your day-to-day look, but you still want to be recognizable! To me, this means you should dress professionally day-to-day, whatever “professionally” means in your classroom. While teaching, you want to wear something you can perform your job duties in (being on your feet all day, varying levels of mess, and perhaps getting down on the floor) and still look nice. If you are a slob in your day-to-day teaching dress and show up in a suit to open house night, some parents or colleagues might think you’re just putting on a show.
Not all open house nights are created equal! Some are outdoor cookouts, others are ice cream socials. Dress to the demands of the event — don’t wear spike heels if you are going to be walking in the grass all evening! Similarly, keep in mind that most Open House nights take place in late summer, and not all schools have air conditioning. Dress nicely, but don’t sacrifice your comfort, either.
Source: Flickr user Jamie