Whether your school calls it Meet the Teacher Night, Back to School Night, or maybe Open House, the first chance for parents to meet and greet their children’s new teachers is a big deal. It’s your chance to establish a relationship with parents and make that all-important teacher introduction. But what, exactly, do you DO on meet the teacher night? And if you’ve been doing this for years now, how do you freshen things up?
We’ve pulled together some of the best meet the teacher night ideas our team of teachers has both used and seen to help you throw a successful event in your classroom!
What Do You Do on Meet the Teacher Night?
Let’s start off with the basics, shall we? Meet the Teacher Night is your best chance to talk face-to-face with parents in an environment that isn’t emotionally charged. Think about it: You haven’t had to call the parents in for a Meeting (with a capital M), and it’s early enough in the year that parents are yet to have questions and comments about their kids’ grades.
How much time you will have with the parents varies from district to district — some schools have a specific timetable, while others allow parents to float in and out of classrooms.
Here are some things to do on meet the teacher night:
- Provide parents with the best way(s) to contact you — Do you prefer email? A phone call after the day ends? Let them know!
- Share an outline of your lesson plans for the year — Touch on some of the topics you’ll cover, any big projects their children might be doing, books they might read, etc.
- Fill parents in on classroom rules and procedures — Homework and behavior, expectations, daily schedules, you name it, parents want to know it.
- Inform parents of important dates for the school year such as testing dates, class trips, etc.
- Sign up parent volunteers!
- Gather contact information for parents — You may already get this from the school, but if you use a texting system like Classtag to inform the entire group of parents about important things, now’s the time to get numbers and allow parents to opt-in. If your district doesn’t collect and share that information, use this handy parent information collection sheet to do the trick.
- Share parent surveys — You may opt to send these home on day one, but it’s always great to share to parents in person who didn’t fill them in (or whose kiddos didn’t quite get the chance to return them)!
- Answer questions!
- Schedule parent/teacher conferences — Meet the Teacher night is a great time to get parents to self-select the times that best work for them! Print a ready-made conference scheduling template to make it easy!
What Should You Put on a Meet the Teacher Slide?
Whether you’re running a meet the teacher event over a certain period of time or parents are wandering in and out, setting up a slide that tells parents about you and the classroom is a great way to cut down on the amount of talking you have to do and give parents easy access to the information they really need.
We’ve made things easier with our ready-made Meet the Teacher information slideshow! Available in Google Slides or Powerpoint, it’s already formatted and beautifully designed and covers the following:
- About the Teacher
- Class Schedule
- Supply List
- Ways to Volunteer
- Wish List
- Contact Information
This Meet the Teacher Slideshow also works well if your classroom is remote this year. You can share during a virtual meet the teacher event or email to parents.
Meet the Teacher Templates
It’s always helpful to have a printable version of your meet the teacher information handy for parents to take home. After all, there are the parents who are going to grab their phones and take a picture of the slide on your smartboard. Then there are the parents who want something tactile that they can hang on the fridge. You want to serve them both!
This handy parent handbook is designed like a flipbook, so parents can easily find the information they need. Edit the meet the teacher template with the information they need, print on colorful paper, and hand out!
What to Do With Students on Meet the Teacher Night
Some schools invite kiddos to be involved in meet the teacher night, and why not? It can be tough for parents to find a sitter. You may suggest to your administrator that you contact the local Girl Scouts or even the National Honor Society in your high school to provide babysitting, or you may want to roll with it. There’s something awfully cute about kids showing off their desks and cubbies to their parents.
Back to School Photo Props
One idea that’s sure to be a hit? Set up this easy back-to-school photo booth for parents to snap a shot of their kiddo on their phone!
Back to School Search and Find
While you’re sharing all the information that parents need to know, your students can be searching and finding school supplies with this fun search and find activity!
School Scavenger Hunt
Showing off the school to their parents is a lot of fun for little kids, and a scavenger hunt adds in an extra bit of fun for the whole family. Print this template to guide them, or edit to make it fit your building!
Meet the Teacher Letters
Writing a meet the teacher letter is a nice touch if you’ve got the time, and you can print multiple copies to hand out at the door on meet the teacher night. Our teacher team at Teach Starter recently filled out letters to students on our fun bear hug template to give students a little pick-me-up!
For a fun twist, fill out this meet the teacher “all about me” with a space for your photo plus some details about your life that remind parents (and their kids!) that you’re actually a real human being!
Set Up a Fun Bulletin Board
There may not be a whole lot of time from the first day of school to the meet the teacher or back to school night, but if you can, setting up a bulletin board with student work gives parents something to peruse while they’re waiting for you to transition from one group to another. Your board can be as simple asking your class to draw self portraits!
Read a Book
Meet the Teacher Night is a chance to set the tone for the year, and if you have time, reading a story book is a subtle but good way to convey what sort of learning atmosphere their children will be spending their time in.
- The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater — This book about a man who convinces his neighbors to paint their homes to show off their personalities is a good way to show parents that all of their kids’ individual strengths and personalities will be valued in your classroom.
- Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez Neal — This story of a little girl whose name is mispronounced at school was a “first day of school” must read suggestion, but it’s also an important lesson for parents to hear to let them know again that their kids will be respected in your classroom — and to send home the message that bullying will not be tolerated.
What does your meet the teacher night plan look like? Let us know below!