What’s more stressful than prepping for back to school? Meeting your new students and their families!
I am always so nervous on Meet the Teacher Day. I’m not worried about meeting my students but meeting their parents and guardians is a whole other story. It’s important to make a great first impression on your new students’ parents.
I have 3 EASY tips to ease your Meet the Teacher day (or night) anxiety.
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In my school district, families and their children can come to find their new classroom and meet the teacher on the Friday before the first day of school. Families can come in at any time during that hour. (MOST families are lined up at the door EARLY eager to meet their new teacher!).
During my first few years of teaching, it freaked me out that they ALL came in at once and I was surrounded by a big crowd of people all wanting to talk to me. Yikes. It was stressful for me and I wasn’t able to meet with my students and their families individually.
I LOVE doing workstations for my students so I decided to try stations for Meet the Teacher Day. It was a HUGE success and I’ll never go a year without it again. Meet the Teacher Stations for many years and I found that it gives families a purpose and leaves YOU some space so that you don’t have a crowd of families in one spot. This gives you the opportunity to mingle and meet with each family individually.
Here are my 3 easy tips for a successful Meet the Teacher Day (or night):
Meet the Teacher Day Step 1: Prep
Make a list of all of the information you will need from families and the information you want to share with them.
From families, you will need:
- Preferred contact information and method
- Transportation information
You’ll want to share with families:
- The best way for families to contact you
You will need to give more and to get more information too but this information but these are the most important for the first days of school.
Make your list of information you need to collect, the information you want to share, and any additional information your school wants to send home. Prepare, gather, and make copies of any forms, letters, syllabus, or schedules that you’ll need.
Meet the Teacher Day Step 2: Stations
Knowing I’d have about 24 students, I decided I wanted 12 stations this would help alleviate any crowding. I station labels and placed them in inexpensive acrylic 5×7 stand-up frames like these HERE. Sidenote, these frames are great to have on hand in the classroom. I use them for student workstations, VIP desks, Open House, Math & Science Night, and more!
I set the stations up around the classroom and have families circulate to visit all of them in any order. I include stations for:
- Contact Information
- Wish List
- Information to take home
- Curriculum (I have texts and previous interactive notebooks available for browsing)
- Favorite subject
- School supply drop-off
- Class Pet (now that I don’t have a class pet, I call our plants our “pets” 😂)
- And one directing students to say hello to their new teacher
Having stations for families, allows me to go speak to them individually and a bit more privately. This takes some of that “speaking in front of large groups of strangers” pressure off of me. I find it much less stressful and much more enjoyable this way!
Meet the Teacher Day Step 3: Follow-Up
Within the week following Meet the Teacher Day, I like to send a quick thank you note home to the families who I met in person. For families that weren’t able to attend, I send them a friendly letter to welcome them and their child into our classroom family. I let them know that I am available for an in-person meeting or phone call to discuss any questions they might have. I also attach a copy of my Meet the Teacher Letter plus any other information that was given to families to bring home that day.
Making a great first impression on your first meeting with families doesn’t have to be stressful but it is so important for building a supportive relationship. Parents and guardians want to know that you care and being welcoming, friendly, and open to communication is the best way to show that during the first days of school.
You can create your own Meet the Teacher Stations or save time and check out the different themes of Meet the Teacher Stations that I have created. You can see them HERE.
AND I have a FREEBIE for you! This Rainbow Meet the Teacher Letter Template makes it easy to create a simple and sweet letter for your new students and their families. It’s perfect to have on your students’ desks for Meet the Teacher Day and the first day of school!
Wishing you a Happy New School Year!
For a great strategy to manage challenging behaviors, read 4 Tips to Managing Challenging Behavior and learn one of my favorite parts of my classroom.