I have a habit of becoming the doorman at school events. This past week we hosted our two open house evening events, third through fourth grade on the first night and preschool through second grade on the second evening. Both events started at five p.m. with a community dinner and then the open house in classrooms beginning at six p.m. and running through seven. Promptly at five p.m. on both evenings I took my post at the door.
I stand, for the two hours that the event runs, at the door. I’ve been asked why I do this and that’s why I thought I’d put together a short post about. I do this for several reasons:
- The number one reason is that I get to see and interact with every single family that comes to the event. Often times, in the past, if I’m cruising around events like open house I only get to see and interact with some of the families that visit. It’s really powerful to have interactions with every single family.
- People know where I am and how to find me. Often families take advantage of being able to check in with me about any number of things. It’s a great way to get feedback, ideas, set up meetings, connect, etc. If I’m moving about too much at an activity or event it can be hard for families to connect. At other events, such as a play, I would move inside after the crowd arrived, but at something like this, staying in one spot seems to help!
- I get to gather feedback as families are leaving about how the evening went. It’s just like we encourage teachers to do with their students’ days…cap it on either end with a greeting and reflection! Works for adults too!
- I get to model welcoming actions. I extend my hand, shake hands with adults and students, formally welcome them to the building…it’s a nicer greeting than three sets of closed doors without any human interaction!
There are many other benefits to this simple practice. I do want to emphasize that I don’t stand outside the whole time events are happening, but I make sure to be there for arrival and departure. Works out great!