Maybe it feels like butterflies or stage fright, but Meet the Teacher Night can be intimidating even for the most veteran of all teachers. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get through the night with flying colors!
What are parents looking for when they come to your Meet The Teacher night?
Administrators think parents want curriculum information. And that’s not untrue, but it’s also not the complete picture.
But what parents really want is this. They want to know that you like their child. That their child will be safe with you. That you want to help their child. That you are engaging and compassionate and passionate about education.
What should be included in Meet the Teacher?
- Slide Show – Slide shows are great ways to remember what you need to say when you might be wrestling some nerves. Include:Your name and info like education, experience, etc.
- Contact info – How do you prefer to be contacted? What are your email address and phone number?
- Curriculum – What will we be studying this year?
- Grades – How will your students be assessed? How can parents see their student’s grades? When should they expect to get grades back?
- Handout – Back to school night is overwhelming for parents also. Especially in the middle school ages, parents have to meet 4 or 5 or even more new teachers and they’re going to be on sensory overload. They’ll forget things like how to contact you or what school supplies their child needs. Help them out by providing a handout with all that info on it.
- Sign in – Parent sign in is critical. You’ll forget which parent you met and which asked you to contact them. Have a sign in sheet and then write notes on it as soon as parents leave.
- QR codes – Instead of handouts, give parents an index card with a QR code leading to your About Me internet page where you give them the lowdown on how to contact you, what school supplies they need, and what the curriculum is.
- Have a Chromebook ready for digital signing in, OR include a link on your About Me page for parents to sign in using their phones.
Stations for Meet the Teacher Night
Show the parents what being in your class is going to be like. Have them rotate around your classroom, completing various activities at each stations. Here are stations I use:
- School supply list – What materials will Suzie need to be successful in your class? Have copies of a printed list or have a QR code to bring them to your supply list website. I like to have sample binders, pencil cases, etc available for parents to see what I’m looking for.
- Write a note to your child. This is really an elementary activity, but middle school parents (and kids) find it fun too! Have parents write a quick note to their child (“I’m proud of you” is a standard) and leave it in an envelope on the child’s desk for them to see the next day.
- Curriculum. At this station, parents can pick up a handout on the curriculum and participate in a quick lab such as:
- Photos – Add a selfie station for parents to snap a selfie in a particularly photogenic area of your classroom. Include props like Erlenmeyer flasks or goggles. Let them send it to their child – kids and parents will love this!
- Meet the teacher. After parents have completed all of the other stations, I greet them with a handshake and a smile and ask if they have any questions. If they have more than a simple question, I point them to a “Sign up for a conference or phone call” QR code where they can input their name and what kind of information they need from you. This helps move the evening along and keeps you from getting bogged down with Johnny’s parents who want to tell you all about their son’s hobbies.
Good luck. They’re going to love you.