After all of the classroom preparation, organizing, and planning, it is finally time to gather your Meet the Teacher ideas and meet your new students and their families. Your Meet the Teacher event is a great opportunity to leave a lasting first impression and get to know your students.
The ultimate goal is for the students to leave feeling excited about school and ready to come back and learn with you. These Meet the Teacher ideas and tips will help you host a successful event from the preparation stages all the way through the event and beyond.
Before Meet the Teacher
When gathering your Meet the Teacher ideas, it is so easy for your brain to feel like a tornado with ideas and to-do's spinning around like crazy. So much to do, so little time, right?! Instead of feeling distraught, let's break it down and take it one step at a time. First, begin with tasks to complete before your Meet the Teacher event.
Clean and Tidy Up
Depending on when your Meet the Teacher event is held, your classroom may or may not be complete. Some schools host their event before the first day of school while others host it days after school has started. Don't stress if you don't have everything labeled yet or if your curriculum books aren't in their forever home.
Your first task is to clean and tidy up your classroom. Dust off your shelves, pick up those pesky crayon wrappers that always seem to hang around, put away projects that you are working on, etc. This will make your room look welcoming and neat, making everyone feel more at ease.
Put Away Important Items
Once you have cleaned and tidied, take a walk around your classroom and put away items that you don't want touched. Your new students and their siblings that visit your room can be curious, leading to lots of exploring, if you know what I mean. 🙂
If you have items that are breakable, have a lot of pieces, or are very valuable to you and/or the school, put those away or out of reach for now.
Set Up a Kid's Station
Your Meet the Teacher event is a great opportunity to get to know your students and talk with their parents. Setting up a kid's station in your classroom with baskets of toys or a table with coloring pages and crayons is a good way to keep siblings busy while they wait. This Back to School Monster freebie could also be added to your kid's station.
If you want to chat with the parents one-on-one, your new students can take advantage of this station too. It doesn't need to be fancy, just a few simple toys that won't leave a big mess or be too loud. Think toys like blocks and simple puzzles. Easy set-up, easy clean-up.
Set Up a Supply Station.
If your Meet the Teacher event is before school or on the first day, your students may come with their supplies. Having a designated place for them to put their supplies will save you from having to direct everyone. Either hang up a sign telling them to put their supplies in their desk (brown grocery bags work great for this) or have a labeled bin for them to put their individual supplies in.
Individual bins with the students' names on them will keep all supplies separate, easy to access and move around, simple to sanitize, and will cut down on sharing.
Include a Meet the Teacher Letter and Surprise
One of the first steps in building a great relationship with your students is to get to know them AND let them get to know you! Type up a simple, one-page Meet the Teacher letter that tells them about you, your background, and your favorite things. Include a picture or two of you and your family. They will love learning where you went to school, what your favorite food is, how many pets you have, etc!
It also makes them feel special if you have a little surprise for them! A few ideas for a Meet the Teacher surprise are a back to school decorated cookie in a cute bag, a goodie bag with a back to school pencil and sidewalk chalk, a new tube of bubbles, or anything small you know they will love. Place your letter and surprise on their desk for them to take home.
During Meet the Teacher
Now that you are organized and your room is ready to go, it's time to open your doors and your heart to your new Kindergarteners. Keep these Meet the Teacher ideas in mind during the event.
Set the Scene
To make your room feel welcoming, play soft, calming music in the background. Not too loud, just enough to make the room feel soothing. You know that music that plays at a spa? Think something like that! You can search “relaxing music for the classroom” on your internet browser and great options will pop up.
Bonus tip: You can play this music in your classroom every morning as students enter or when your students are working. It's magical what it will do for their focus and noise level!
Another idea for setting the scene is to project your Meet the Teacher letter on your board or screen. Family members will enjoy reading this while they wait to chat with you or as their student explores the room. The students will enjoy it too!
Designate a Photo Area
Parents will be eager to take photos of their student in their new classroom and with their teacher. Designate an area in your room for students to take pictures individually and with you. This may be in front of your back to school bulletin board or by the welcome sign.
Ask For Volunteers
Working with parent volunteers is a great way to get them involved in their child's school and build positive relationships. Whether they are volunteering for a classroom party, helping check folders, making copies, or working with students during reading groups, it is best to get their names down early.
If your school does not allow for parent volunteers in the building, they can volunteer at home by cutting out lamination, recording a read aloud for the class, or simply working with their own child.
Include a volunteer sign up sheet at a small table with information about what they can choose to help with at your Meet the Teacher event. This will help you get your volunteers organized so they can start helping you and your students early in the year. For more ideas on working with parent volunteers, visit this blog post.
The most important thing to remember during your Meet the Teacher event is to greet everyone. Talk with each student and their family members. Ask them questions and get to know a little bit more about them. Relationships are EVERYTHING and this is the first step in building them. For more ideas on building relationships with your students, check out this blog post.
After Meet the Teacher
You made it! Your event is a wrap, but there are a couple more Meet the Teacher ideas for you to make this a total success.
After the event, make note of any important observations and conversations that you don't want to forget. You may have observed a certain behavior that you want to keep an eye on or had a parent tell you about a dietary need to keep in mind at snack time. Write those down right away as well as any other to-do's that came to your mind during the event.
It is a good practice to follow up with the parents after your Meet the Teacher event to thank them and their student for coming, ask them if they have any questions or concerns, and let them know the best way to reach you. You can do this via email or a written thank you note that you send home.
Dress the Part
The last tip is to wear the same outfit on the first day of school as you do at your Meet the Teacher event. This will help your students identify you and remember where to go. Another idea is to dress in matching shirts with your grade level team if you have one. This will help students and parents know that they can go to any of you for help.
With these Meet the Teacher ideas and tips, you can make yourself a checklist of items to keep in mind. You are sure to make a great first impression at your Meet the Teacher event.