What are the Must Dos for Meet the Teacher? Meet the teacher is the special time when your soon-to-be students get to come meet you and you get to meet them. Parents can ask questions. Students can get excited and calm their nerves. And teachers should use this time to put families at ease and to get important information from families. Let’s break this down into two parts. The first part can be how to prepare for Meet the Teacher and the second part can be what to do during Meet the Teacher.
This section for Meet the Teacher Preparation
MUST DO 1- Prep the Paperwork
Send home all the important papers. The start of the year is the king of paperwork. There are literally a few dozen papers to send home and get signed. Send them all home in one chunk so parents can fill them all out asap. This also means that many will be able to bring back all those signed papers on the first day. I literally make a stack of all required papers to hand out and collate them when I think I have all papers. (If my oldest child is around, I use her assistance as well.) Once all papers are collated, we put them into the manila envelopes.
Next tip, always makes extra copies and keep extra piles of papers. Kindergarten is notorious for adding students at the last minute. You will also have families with a variety of situations and some may need more than one set of papers. If my roster has 20 students on it, I make at least 25 piles. Then, I save any extra copies of the papers. The orange basket pictured above is holding all my extra required papers. Once I get back all the required papers, then I can toss my extra stash.
MUST DO 2- Give Students a Place to Be for Meet the Teacher
Now that you have an envelope of papers for each family, give students a place to be somewhere, maybe a seat. I don’t suggest a permanent label on each seat but rather make sure you have a temporary tag or so for each place. This tag can make sure you have their name written correctly, which is a big deal for Kindergarten. This will also help you to know who has come and who has not come to Meet the Teacher.
Some teachers prefer to lay out packets for pick up and have parents sign in. This may be ideal in a flexible seating classroom. I strongly feel students feel more confident when they have an actual place to sit and know exactly where to head to in the morning. If you don’t have an exact table to place students at, perhaps you can show them a hook or a cubbie, or a carpeted space.
Neither is right or wrong, just think about the pros and cons of each way and how you feel your Meet the Teacher will flow. (And please note, my student names are written with a sharpie on top of the taped-down name tags. I can easily clear them off and write them again.)
MUST DO 3- Decide what you need before they leave
You can’t ask parents to fill out everything in the paperwork packet on the spot, but you can ask for basic information. I asked for the (green) emergency consent card to be filled out on the spot. I pull it out of the paper packets and leave it out with pens. This gives me direct contact information before the first day of school. I also ask parents to fill out a Google Form that night. (You can read more about the Google Form here.) This gives me parent emails, allergies, transportation, and just the important basics on the spot. I feel it is vital to know who is allergic to what before school starts.
MUST DO 4- Give Directions for Meet the Teacher
Give parents directions on exactly what you need from them. I display a very simple PowerPoint with directions so my families know exactly what I need from them. To catch my students’ parents’ attention, I add a few get-to-know-you pictures about myself to it. The PowerPoint runs continuously through the directions which eliminates a lot of wasted time for me. Best yet, I use the same one year after year so it takes me a few moments to prep this!
MUST DO 5- Don’t Aim for a perfect room
Your classroom is yours, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Focus on what is awesome and great. Don’t stress about imperfections. It will all be okay. Perfection doesn’t make a classroom great, you do.
(The bubble wands are something my whole team does for each student. I grab scholastic books using points at the end of the school year for this day. I send them home to read with their parents the night before they start Kindergarten. You can grab the free tags here.)
This section Meeting the Families
Our school has a set time for everyone to come in at once. This can be slightly crazy, but so much fun. Let me walk you through the things you must do when meeting your new families. If you set appointment times, feel free to adjust these tips as needed. Get your mindset ready for Meet the Teacher. Here is how I feel about this time of year.
MUST DO 1- Greet the Family
Greeting each family and introducing yourself is a must. I introduce myself to each family and shake hands with the parents. Then, I thank the family for coming. Next, I get down at eye level with the child and talk to them. I tell them who I am and let them know I am so excited they are in my class. If another family comes in the room while I am talking to a family, I try to smile at them and let them know I will be there soon. Usually, they are reading the directions and working on finding their place and their packet so it all works out. I try my best to meet families in the order they arrive and thank everyone who waits for me.
MUST DO 2- Talk to the Child
Take the time to look at each student’s face and speak directly to each new student. Most of the time I get hugs from the child, which is a welcome gesture. Then, I ask them something about themselves. We usually end up giggling. If a table mate is there, I introduce the children to each other. Looking at the children’s faces and saying their name many times is a must for me to remember who they are.
MUST DO 3- Ask About Questions
Take a moment to ask the student and their family if they have any questions for you. I know that coming from a daycare to a regular school can be a transition so if I discover they are from a daycare, I walk them through the major differences. I also make sure the parents feel comfortable leaving their child with me. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I write it down and who needs the answer so I can get them that info.
Must DO 4- Thank Them
Before families leave, I like to double-check that I have all the things I need from them. I thank them for coming and let them know I am looking forward to a new year. Most importantly, I make sure I talk to the student again and let them know how I can’t wait to see them on our first day. Last, I thank them for coming to meet me.