This year has thrown us all sorts of curveballs. And, as we gear up to begin a brand new school year without really knowing how the entire year is going to look, we all have a lot of questions! With many of you finally knowing that you will be starting the year off virtually, you’ve probably started to think through how you will be performing your ‘typical’ back-to-school activities…virtually. The question we have been pondering – how can students and their families ‘meet’ their new teacher virtually?
Meet the Teacher – Why It’s Important
During the beginning of a traditional school year, you might have a few things to check off your list:
- Organize a WOW-worthy classroom – check!
- Plan fun and engaging lessons – check!
- Get to know your students and their families – check, check, check!
The final point above is usually achieved through great communication, team building activities with your class, and a Meet the Teacher event that takes place before school starts!
While many things about a ‘normal’ school year are changing drastically in 2020, your Meet the Teacher session doesn’t have to be one of them.
Meet the Teacher sessions are important for so many reasons! Not only do they introduce you to your new students and their families, but they also provide an opportunity for your new students to look around the classroom, locate their desk, and see which friends are in their class. All of this helps to ease their anxiety before the big day arrives!
Meeting the teacher also provides a great opportunity to establish a strong relationship with your class families. It’s a good time to begin laying the groundwork for establishing a positive parent-teacher line of communication for the upcoming school year. It definitely helps to make your school year a smooth and successful one!
So, as you begin to plan out how you will be ‘meeting’ your new students and their families virtually, we’ve come up with some fun and engaging ways that just might help!
Establishing a positive relationship with your students and their families is one of the most important things to do at the start of the school year. Not only will it make communicating with parents easier as the year begins, but it will also create a parent/teacher ‘team’ where you and your students’ parents work together to make sure their children get the most out of their lessons. Choose a classroom theme pack, such as the Affirmations Classroom Theme Pack we’ve chosen, then start ‘meeting’ your class families!
Introduce yourself in a memorable way! You may be more comfortable sending a simple letter through email or putting together a PowerPoint giving a little information about yourself (and if you do, make sure you check out our PowerPoint Template Collection!).
We’ve also put together a helpful Meet the Teacher PowerPoint that you can fill out and share through email or using our Google Slides. The PowerPoint has a slide for all of your information such as your class schedule, supply list, ways they can volunteer, your class wish list, and contact information. There are even blank slides for you to make your own!
Another idea is to schedule a ‘Meet the Teacher’ Zoom Meeting with all of your new students and their families. This will allow you to introduce yourself and share the PowerPoint live, and your students will get to see which friends made it into their new class! It’s a win-win!
However, if you’re really wanting the ‘WOW’ factor or to do something more adventurous, why not record a video of yourself and share it with your class families using a QR code?
Then, have your students respond by emailing you a video introducing themselves and their families to you!
For more info on creating QR codes and using them in your classroom, read our blog 10 Exciting QR Code Classroom Activity Ideas.
Be Part of Your Students’ Lives
It can also be hard to establish a strong relationship with a child when you don’t actually get to meet them face to face. It can be sad to think that you won’t be going on any class adventures with your students for the foreseeable future!
Well, we have a solution for you! You may have seen our amazing blog Be the Coolest Teacher Around (Bitmoji in the Classroom). Did you know that Bitmojis can help you build relationships during online learning too?
Simply send a copy of your personal bitmoji to your students! Instruct them to ‘cut you out’ and take you on a tour around their home, documenting the adventure! Out with the ‘Flat Stanley’ and in with the ‘Flat Mr. or Ms. ________.’
It doesn’t have to stop there! Why not ask to be included in any pictures of important work for the remaining time in the virtual classroom.
Sharing Important Information
Of course, the second most important reason to have a Meet the Teacher session is to share important information with your class families.
Start off by making sure your class parents know when and how to contact you should they need to ask a question. It might also be helpful to provide some extra handy contact details such as the Administrator in charge of Curriculum and Instruction or the IT Help Desk!
Make sure you send your students a copy of a class calendar for the first month of school that includes important dates, events, and project due dates you know will be happening that month. They can display it on their refrigerator and you won’t have to field a hundred emails asking “When is this due…?”. Be sure and check out our large collection of monthly calendars that will be perfect for this! They each have an editable Word version, making it simple to type your dates in and send through email or post on any digital platform.
As well as these helpful inclusions, you might want to take the time to create separate student login information sheets for each student so they can have a handy copy at home for each of the digital learning tools you will be using during your virtual teaching.
Meet the Teacher sessions are held at the beginning of the school year for a reason!
Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to inform and connect with your students and their parents, but it helps you set your expectations for the year to come. This is especially important when you’re not conducting learning face to face with your students.
Another big plus is that you know the information is going directly to the parents. So, there are no chances of miscommunication and your students will be held accountable for themselves!
Like I said earlier, you can’t control everything that happens while your students are learning from home. But, your parents will still appreciate a little help with structure and routine – and this means schedules!
Help your parents get their kids on track by providing them with an overview of your lessons for the first week. Or, give them a headstart in the form of a Learning From Home Activity Grid. We have activity grids for Pre-K all the way to Grade 6! Our week 1 – 4 grids will help you get a headstart on your year, and your parents will be thanking you for the wonderful ideas linked to math, language arts, and other areas of the curriculum. Take a look at these for Week 1:
Handing out a blank copy of a schedule is another great way to work with your parents to plan their learning from home days. Give them some pointers as to how they can combine these activities into a weekly schedule that will work for them and keep their kids on track.