Meet the teacher is always exciting! It’s an opportunity to meet our students and learn about their families. Unfortunately, for some families, this will be the one and only time you meet them face-to-face. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure you plan how things will run because you want to make a great first impression.
But there’s more to Meet the Teacher events than just introductions. It’s also a crucial opportunity to start forging relationships with the families of your students. But why is this important?
Research has shown a significant link between family involvement in education and positive student behavior and attitudes. In a study by McNeal (2012), students whose families were involved in their education demonstrated better social skills and more positive attitudes toward school.
So, making the most out of your Meet the Teacher event doesn’t just set you up for a successful school year – it could actually influence how your students behave and interact in the classroom.
Meet the Teacher events is your opportunity to build this crucial relationship with your students and their families, and it’s a time to get connected with them. You want to take advantage of this opportunity and not miss a thing.
So, I put together some tips for your event. These tips will not just help you manage your classroom and keep a clear head but also kickstart those positive relationships that can lead to improved student behavior and attitudes. I’m going to share ten helpful tips for a successful Meet the Teacher Event.
Tip #1: Create an open house scavenger hunt for your families
The scavenger hunt will keep them focused as they complete forms, find seats, and meet the teacher. Not only that, but it will keep your students’ siblings busy and out of your materials. I created editable forms you can use too! These include shapes so that you can use just a few or all ten stations.
Tip #2 Play inviting music during your Meet the Teacher event
I like to play soft music to lighten the mood. Have you ever walked into a room that was quiet and you didn’t know a person? It can be awkward. Break the awkward silence with music. If you decide to play music, keep it soft and at a low volume. You never know if students and their families are sensitive to loud noises.
Tip #3 Avoid talking about other teachers and staff with families
Gossiping seems like a no-brainer, but humans are human. We tend to say things without even knowing. Be mindful of your conversations, especially when the families tell you which class the sibling is in. Your reaction says a lot! Think about how you would want your teammate to react when they hear you are teaching a student. Do that!
Tip #4 Lock up your treasures!
Of course, you should lock up your purse, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about things like your STEM Boxes or Math Games. You worked hard prepping them over the summer, and they’re not quite ready to be used in the classroom because you haven’t introduced them to your students yet. These are the things I’m talking about.
Find a safe place for these items. The last thing you want is Billy’s little brother mixing all the pieces and leaving a trail of mess throughout the classroom. Safe places include cabinets, under the teacher’s desk, in a storage room, etc.
Tip #5 Record questions as they come to you
Your students’ families will come in with questions. Some of them you may not know the answer to yet. Keeping track of questions will help you remember to answer these questions. Keep a notepad and a pencil close by so you can write down the questions and record who asked them. You can also do this with the voice-to-text in the notes section of your phone.
Tip #6 Be prepared with pencils and pens
Keep a supply of freshly sharpened pencils or pens for your Meet the Teacher event. Doing so makes it more convenient for your families when completing necessary paperwork. If you’re able, try grabbing some welcome pens or pencils as a gift to your families. Students love these to keep at their desks. Plus, it won’t make you upset if they “accidentally” take it home.
Tip #7 Limit Paperwork
Speaking of paperwork, limit the amount that is necessary for the classroom. I know that you want to have all the paperwork completed, but it is quite a bit for a single mom of three school-aged children to satisfy all of that while having no supervision of the kids. Place the vital paperwork on top, keep the letters, and return to school information on the bottom of the stack.
Tip #8 Spread your stations throughout the room
When you organize your scavenger hunt stations, try to keep them spread throughout the room so that you can avoid traffic jams in your classroom. Scattering your stations will help the flow of traffic and keep families from waiting. Plus, this gets your families moving around the room making them feel more comfortable and confident about where they’re sending their child.
Tip #9 Organize your folders
Place necessary forms inside a file folder. Write the child’s name on the tab of the folder. When the documents are complete, you can file each folder in a drawer in alphabetical order. Organizing it this way helps me keep track of papers for the remainder of the school year.
Tip #10 Avoid overbearing scents
Avoid overbearing scents. I like to wipe tables with Clorox wipes to give the room a pleasant smell beforehand. My favorite is Clorox Centiva Pacific Breeze and Coconut. I also like the Scentsy Fragrance Flower, but keep these out of reach of small children since you don’t want to have an oil spill.
BONUS TIP for your Meet the Teacher event
When your students are finished with the scavenger hunt, reward them with something from your surprise or treasure box. I like to staple these labels onto a bag of goldfish and give them to my students. It’s inexpensive, and most of them love it!
Be sure you read about my 10 favorite classroom rewards that’ll make your students squeal!
If you found this blog post helpful, please share it with other teachers or save it to refer back to later. Of course, I’d love to hear about your tips for events like Meet the Teacher or any other strategies you’ve found effective in building relationships with your students’ families. The connection between education and family engagement is a rich and evolving field, and there’s always more to learn and share. Comment below with your best tips!