It’s almost that time of year again when teachers prepare for the upcoming year and children return to the classroom. It’s an exciting time of year as anticipation for the coming months and what they hold is high for both students and teachers.
As the teacher, you want to make a great first impression on this year’s students. In doing so, you’ll get them pumped for the year ahead. You’ve already organized and prepared the classroom and done most of the planning, and it’s finally time to coordinate your “meet the teacher” activities.
“Meet the Teacher” allows you to get to know your students a little better and get them excited to come back on the first day of school to begin learning with you. The following steps will help you host a successful “Meet the Teacher” event and begin the new year on the right foot.
Prepare The Classroom
First impressions are everything, so preparing the classroom is a priority before your “meet the teacher” event. Welcoming parents and students with a creative and attractive environment is key!
Tidy up your classroom
The first thing you should do is clean and straighten up your classroom.
Dust your shelves, pick up those annoying crayon wrappers and paper clips, put away unfinished projects, and so on. This will make your space appear more friendly and tidy, putting everyone at ease.
Put Away Important Items
Take a walk around your classroom once you’ve cleaned and tidied, and put away any items you don’t want touched. Your new pupils and their siblings who come to see you in class can be curious, which can lead to a lot of exploration, if you know what I mean.
Put items that are breakable, have a lot of pieces, or are really precious to you and/or the school aside for the time being.
Stations are great to keep your meet the teacher night organized. They will also help your parents’ classroom tour run smoothly.
Set Up a Kids’ Activity Station
The main reason for the “Meet the Teacher” event is so you can meet and talk to your students and their parents and vice versa. This can be challenging with younger siblings tagging along. One way to keep these youngsters occupied so you can talk to your students and their parents without interruption is to set up a kids’ activity station.
Including things like coloring books, crayons, and baskets of toys will keep the little ones busy for a few minutes, and the older siblings can play, too, should you wish to talk to the parents one-on-one. Don’t go overboard – stick to easy to clean up, quiet toys like blocks or puzzles, so you won’t need to spend a great deal of time picking things up at the end of the event.
Designate a Supply Station
Most students will bring their school supplies with them to the event, so designating a specific area to put them in will save you the hassle of having to direct each student individually.
Hang a sign at the door telling students where to put their things and be sure to have labeled bins or bags to keep everyone’s supplies organized. Having individual bins labeled with each student’s name will help them keep their things organized, make it easy to sanitize everything, and cut down on sharing, which can spread germs.
Write a Letter to Your Students
Allowing your students to get to know you better is a great way to begin building a trusting and lasting relationship with your students. Type up a short letter that tells a few things about you like what your favorite foods are, how many pets you have and their names, and what you like to do when you’re not at school.
Include a picture or two of you with your family or pets and add a surprise for them to take home. The surprise can be anything from a goodie bag of snacks to colorful pencils and some sidewalk chalk – anything small and fun the kids will enjoy.
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Give your class this fabulous icebreaker. It is perfect for back to school or meet the teacher night!
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Create a Welcoming, Relaxing Atmosphere
If you’ve ever visited a spa, you probably noticed the calming, soft music playing in the background. You can play the same type of music in your classroom during “Meet the Teacher” to create the same welcoming, relaxing vibe.
If you do this, make sure not to play the music too loudly as it’s meant to be a background effect. You may also want to play this music in your classroom at the start of every class or when your students are quietly working. Doing so will increase their focus and discourage excess talking and noise.
Designate a Photo-Taking Area
Most parents will want to commemorate the event by taking pictures of their children in their new classroom and with their new teacher. Designate a spot (in front of a bulletin board works great as a backdrop!) for parents to snap photos of their children with and/or without you, and don’t forget to ask if they can send copies to you, too.
This is a good time to remind you to include your email address and/or cellphone number in your letter for parents to contact you if they need it.
Round Up Volunteers
Working with parent volunteers is a great way to get parents involved in their child’s school life and form a united front of support and assistance for their kids.
Whether it’s in-class volunteering such as making copies or helping students during reading time, or at-home volunteering such as cutting out things for art or recording a book read aloud, be sure to place a sign-up sheet where parents can choose and sign up for the activities they’d like to help with.
Encourage parents to take part and to sign up at the “Meet the Teacher” event so they can begin helping as soon as the school year starts.
There will be a lot of people coming and going to the event and you’ll receive a lot of important information you’ll want to remember. Keep a small notebook and pen handy that you can jot notes on to refer to afterward.
Parents will likely tell you things about their children like food allergies they have, certain behaviors you’ll want to keep an eye on, and any other circumstance that might need special attention. Jotting these pieces of information down will help you remember what’s what and who’s who after the meet and great event is over.
Follow Up Afterward
Once your “Meet the Teacher” event is over, you should take some time to follow up with the parents to thank them and their students for attending. Ask them if they have any questions or want to express any concerns for the year ahead.
Let them know again, the best way to reach you should they need to. This follow-up can either be an email or a written thank you card sent home with each student on the first day of school.
The “Meet the Teacher” event is an important time for both students and teachers. It gives everyone a chance to get to know each other better and set expectations for the year ahead.
To make a good first impression on your new students and their parents and host a successful “Meet the Teacher” event, try implementing some or all the ideas mentioned above.