Whether it was my first year of teaching or my fifth year of teaching, ‘Meet the Teacher’ night was always a source of stress. But over the years, I’ve picked up several hints and tips and made a few resources that takes some of the stress out of the event and allows me to connect with parents and get the year off to a positive start.
My main tip, before I get into the details, is to be yourself and let your personality shine through. Let the parents see a glimpse of the person their child sees at school every day. This way your students and their parents can truly get to know you and see that you are a person who cares about their child. In order to do this, you need time to dedicate to each family so that you can have meaningful conversations. Getting round to speak to everyone obviously requires time which, as teachers know all too well, is limited. So how do you make the time?
Well first off, I don’t stand at the front and speak to everyone as a whole group. Instead, I have an automated PowerPoint containing key information running on a loop at the front of the room which duplicates some of the information provided in the handouts parents receive – hopefully, that way at least some of the important details will get through!
Secondly, I organise my room so that parents know automatically what to do without any direction or assistance from the staff. I set up different stations around the room with signs that direct “traffic” and let everyone know what to do and how to do it.
Station signs should clearly direct students and parents around your room so they don’t need assistance from you. Again, this will free you up to give enough attention to each family. These station signs you see above (along with all of the other printables) can be found in my Meet the Teacher resource. Also, they are editable so that you can change the text to fit your classroom. I would recommend using standing alligator clips or menu holders to stand them up on tables.
At my first station, I ask that all parents sign in - and provide an up to date contact number and email address to aid communication. I also put together a folder for each child that contains information about reading, spelling and key maths skills needed in my year group. I put this second so that they have the folder to store any other information sheets they pick up throughout the evening.
Once you have your signs organised and place throughout the room, it’s important that you create a Meet the Teacher letter prior to the evening. This is something you can easily create using my Meet the Teacher letter editable template. It’s a great way to introduce yourself and share some of your personal information. It’s also an icebreaker because it shares a lot of details that make great conversation starters. Parents love to talk about the college you went to, your family and children, etc.
Another thing you can do to have a successful night is to get parents involved. I provide parents with a detailed parent letter outlining my classroom policies and expectations. In addition, I always like to include some helpful tips for parents that they can use to get their child prepared for school each day.
In order to learn more about my pupils, I also like to set out a parent questionnaire. There is no one that knows your students more than their parents. This questionnaire will provide you with a lot of great information and show parents that you care and appreciate their input.
I also like to set out a volunteer form or sign-up sheet, to allow parents to offer their services. By providing parents with a volunteer form, you are more likely to increase parent involvement and encourage parents and other family members to volunteer in your classroom.
Another thing I like to do on Meet the Teacher night is to provide families with explicit information about my classroom. This includes things like the schedule, expectations, grading policy, homework, etc. Most parents will ask about your rules and procedures, so it will help if you have it prepared ahead of time so you can direct them to your materials.
In my Meet the Teacher resource, I have included both a no-cut flipbook that you can edit and hand out both to parents. You can edit this flipbook and brochure with important back-to-school class information. It's a great way to put important information at parents’ fingertips. I have even pre-filled in the information for you as a template, but it is editable, so you can change the text to match your rules and procedures.
One of the last things I provide for parents is a magnet with my contact information on it. These editable magnets are a perfect way to provide parents with your important contact information. Just print on card stock and stick a magnet on the front. Parents can then stick them to their fridge for easy access!
It’s always a nice gesture to thank parents for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend your Meet the Teacher night. This can be something as simple as a box of chocolates to share or something that requires a bit more preparation. It depends on when your Meet the Teacher night takes place. Ours is always during the second week back, so I’m usually swamped with lesson planning and marking, so it needs to be something quick and easy!
Other ideas for things to do include:
Everything you need to have a SUCCESSFUL and STRESS-FREE night is included in my editable Meet the Teacher Survival Kit! Click HERE or the button below to check it out!
I'm Ruth. I'm a teacher based in Manchester, UK.
I've been teaching for eight years and am currently based in Year Four, but I have also taught in Year One and Reception.
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