Meet the Teacher (night or day), whichever your school organizes, is something that can make back to school hectic.
And it can be stressful, not just for the teachers. But for families as well. It can be a lot of pressure and a lot of work to get ready for meet the teacher. Especially if you feel the pressure to go all out and Pinterest the heck out of your room.
Because here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be this big splashy event. I like to keep Meet the Teacher simple but enjoyable. So let’s talk about some tips for how to make Meet the Teacher less stressful and more fun.
Have a Plan
The first thing you want to make sure of is that you have a plan. Know what you want to accomplish during meet the teacher and make sure your materials are organized and they’re ready to go.
This is going to make the event run more smoothly. And it’s going to ensure that you’re able to meet all of your goals.
But don’t have a bunch of goals for Meet the Teacher. Pick maybe two or three main things that you want to focus on for the night and how you’re going to accomplish that and make a plan.
For my Meet the Teacher events I have three things that I want to accomplish. I want to make sure to greet students and their families, I want to make sure that I can gauge how well the students follow directions just in that short time that they’re with me, and I also want to give families information about me and my classroom.
So it’s just three goals. I make a plan to meet those goals and make sure I have everything ready so that it runs smoothly. And then I’m not stressed out the whole time.
Meeting Students and Families
Let’s talk about the three goals that I mentioned. So the first thing is to meet and greet with the families as they arrive. And I know it can be hard because there are so many people coming in.
But try to enjoy this moment and try to get to know them. This is going to help them be at ease in your classroom and let them know that you’re excited to meet them.
What I do is I have them sign in on the signup sheet. But I don’t just ask for their name, I ask for their email, their phone number, and how their child gets home.
All of that information is going to help you on the first day of school. And when I have their email, I like to text them on our class messaging app, thanking them for coming. That’s a nice way to follow up with families.
Something I also do before Meet the Teacher is look at the students’ pictures beforehand and try to memorize their names.
Families love that you know their child’s name when you greet them. That also lets the student know that you’re interested in them and that you want to get to know them.
Give Students Simple Tasks to Complete
As I greet and chat with families, what I like to do is give the student who’s in my class some type of task. This helps me see who can or cannot follow directions well, right off the bat. Then I can use this information the first week of school when we’re practicing rules and procedures.
Kids that can’t follow directions during Meet the Teacher are great candidates for showing the class, the right and the wrong way to do various tasks in the classroom.
And that’s really helpful that first week of school. I talked more about three things you should do during the first week of school, in this blog post.
One task you can give students is to choose a book to read on the first day of school and then choose a desk to place it on. That’s going to be their spot on the first day of school. I like to let kids choose their spots for the first day.
Something fun that I like to do to see if kids are able to follow directions is something that I call Creature Chase.
I give them a sheet of paper that has a few tasks to complete. And as they complete them, they “catch” the creature that’s in that area of the task they are doing.
When they have “caught” all the creatures, they can receive a reward, like a piece of candy, or a back-to-school gift of some type.
I like to choose tasks that I know will be beneficial to complete before the first day or the first week of school.
So things like choosing their desk or getting a book to put on their desk, finding their laptop, and placing it on their desk. Things that are going to help the classroom run more smoothly that first day or that first week of school.
Creature Chase is such a fun way to keep kids busy while you chat with their families.
As the kids are completing tasks, I like to take the time to answer any questions that families may have. But don’t let families turn this into a conference. Families might want to talk about the grades from last year or things that happened last year. And that’s just not the time to do that.
For this reason, I like to have a conference signup sheet ready to go so that if a family tries to make it into a conference, I can just simply ask them to sign up. And then we could talk about it more in private.
But it is important to chat a bit with families. You want to get to know them a little bit because this is going to help put their minds at ease about the upcoming year. And it’s going to build trust between you and them.
You can chat a little bit about simple things like your classroom, what your rules are, and anything that is not personal about their child.
Share Classroom Information Digitally
During Meet the Teacher give families information about your classroom. I like to share this digitally so I create a PDF, and save it to a Google Drive file. The reason I do that is to save paper. Also most of those papers, when you send them home, they’re probably going to get lost, they’re going to end up in the trash or under somebody’s bed.
Because most likely everyone has a phone, they’re able to scan a QR code or type in a link. So what I do is I create a PDF of all of my classroom information, like what my rules are and contact information. And then I save that to Google Drive.
Then I’ll take that link and share it with families. I try to create a short link on Bitly because it’s easier to find. But I also like to create a QR code that I put on paper with the link.
QR codes are super simple to make. You go to a free website like this, and you put in the link to whatever your file is and it creates a QR code. So then what families do is they just scan the QR code and the classroom information pops up right away.
I really think families appreciate not having all the papers to deal with. And of course, YOU don’t have to deal with all those papers. So it makes it easy for both of you.
I also like that if later in the year, the family asks about something that can be found inside that PDF, I can just send them the link with the information and they have it. So when you get a new student, it’s an easy way to share your classroom information.
It’s ok to keep Meet the Teacher simple! You’ll be a lot less stressed out and find you’ll enjoy it more.
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