Meet the teacher day/night can be a super exciting but also super stressful time. Exciting because you’re meeting your new students for the very first time, but stressful because you’re also meeting their parents and you want to make a good first impression.
There is a lot to think about when preparing for meet the teacher. I’m sure all schools do it a little differently, but in my opinion, meet the teacher should be a time when your future students and their parents get to know you and get a feel for the kind of experience that being in your class will bring. In order to accomplish this, there are certain things you’ll want to make sure you incorporate into your meet the teacher event. Here are my top 6 tips for a successful meet the teacher!
1. Don’t worry about your room!
I think the biggest thing that causes teachers stress for meet the teacher is getting their room ready! Depending on when it happens, it may just not be possible for your room to be completely set up. But honestly, I don’t think this needs to be your biggest concern at all! Classrooms are meant to be a learning, growing place. They will change and be added onto as the year goes on, and I think parents understand this.
You still want your room to look inviting, of course. Make sure it is neat, organized, and maybe even throw a few posters up on the wall. But does it have to be 100% ready to go? No! A lot of schools have students bring school supplies on meet the teacher night or the first day of school, so chances are you won’t be able to prep everything ahead of time anyway. Don’t stress too much about the state of your room – just make sure it is welcoming and presentable. Then, focus on the more important things.
2. Introduce yourself.
The number one thing I think teachers should be focused on for meet the teacher (other than beginning to develop those student and parent relationships) is letting your students and parents get to know you. This is crucial in order to form the kind of relationship you want to have with your students and parents! They need to see that underneath it all, you are a real person who has a heart for teaching. They need to trust you!
I’m not saying be best friends with all the parents. In fact, I don’t really recommend that at all. Just show them who you are. Let them in a little bit into your life beyond teaching.
It can be hard to fit this in when you are meeting SO many new people. My recommendation is to have a meet the teacher letter that parents can take home that gives a little information about yourself, what you like, and your contact information.
I have a FREE and editable meet the teacher template in my TpT store that is perfect for this! It is simple and easy to use. Just fill in your information, print, and hand out! (It also includes versions for administrators, coaches, counselors, etc.). You can download the letter here or click the picture below.
3. Send ALL the handouts.
When else are you going to have the attention of almost every single one of your parents at once?? Take advantage! Get together all your beginning of the school year information sheets and handouts before meet the teacher night so that you don’t have to worry about sending them home with students later on.
Lay out all relevant papers that need to be filled out or taken home on a table. You could also make folders to send home with each family to ensure they don’t accidentally miss a paper. Include any important school-required documents that need to be signed, an information sheet so you have contact info and important information about students, and your meet the teacher note. If you use a communication system, such as Remind or Bloomz, make sure you include the information sheet for that as well so parents can go ahead and get signed up.
I also like to have business cards available with my contact info on them for parents to grab. I keep these on my desk all year, but meet the teacher is the best time to have them handy! These were simple to make – I created them on the Avery website and printed out on Avery business card sheets.
Pro Tip: Make extra copies and place them in folders to keep with you. This makes it easy to send home important information with new students you may get throughout the year.
4. Initiate parent conferences.
Some schools require beginning of the year conferences, and some schools don’t. My school didn’t, but last year I decided to do them anyway and I don’t regret it one bit. I felt like my teacher-parent relationships last year were so much stronger than any other year, and I think it’s thanks to the time I spent up front connecting with parents.
Conferences can be scary. I wanted to get them out of the way and develop a relationship with parents BEFORE any issues arose. The beginning of the year is a great time for conferences because you are mostly just getting to know each other and asking/answering questions. I also found it was a safe and easy outlet for parents to let us (my partner teacher and me) know important information about their students (whether it be home life situations, a bad experience the previous year, etc.) that we may otherwise not have found out. This information was not only valuable to us as teachers, but helped us to establish that trust that is so vital between a teacher and parent.
Like I said before, take advantage of the fact that for one hour you have the complete attention of almost every parent of your students. Put a conference sign up sheet out at meet the teacher and encourage parents to sign up! We called these “Getting to Know You” conferences so they didn’t sound scary, and had two sign up sheets – one with some times during our conference and after school for parents to sign up for, and one for parents who work and couldn’t meet in person. The first one included a place for a phone number/email address so I could send reminders, and the second one also asked for contact info and a few preferred times so that we could call or email and chat for a few minutes.
Most parents signed up for a conference and, while it was a busy first few weeks, it was well worth it.
5. Create a slideshow of necessary information.
Unless your school requires you give a presentation, it is going to be very hard for you to go over all the crucial points you want to make sure parents know before the first day of school with each parent. I highly recommend creating some kind of PowerPoint presentation that can run in the background for parents to watch and take pictures of as needed.
This can include things like your class schedule, special events coming up, uniform/dress code policy, class or school rules, discipline policy, etc. These are all things that are important for parents to know, but you really don’t have time to cover with each individual person in the short time you have.
Alternatively, you could include all this on a handout for parents to take home instead.
6. Have a plan for school supplies.
I wasn’t prepared for this my first year teaching! If your students bring their school supplies to meet the teacher, make sure you have a plan for it.
I have seen many teachers actually go ahead and have students sort their supplies on the night they bring it, placing bins around the room and having students drop it in the correct one. Personally, I like to sort the supplies myself. I just have students drop it off at their desk and go through it the next day. There’s no right or wrong way to do it! Just make sure you have a plan (because I didn’t my first year and it was chaos).
I hope these 6 meet the teacher night ideas prepare you to have a successful meet the teacher night! Meet the teacher can be really stressful but is a great opportunity to start the year off strong with those student and parent relationships.
Need some help getting ready? Click the picture below to view my Meet the Teacher Resource Pack!