At this stage in the game, almost ever single elementary school (or at least the ones that I have taught in) have “Meet the Teacher Day” right before Back to School.
That is all.
Actually, Meet the Teacher is a great way to get a bead on your child’s classroom and year. But you have to come prepared. Let’s go through a quick checklist of what you need to make this event a success.
Get your copy of the Meet the Teacher Checklist!
Many teachers use Meet the Teacher to collect school supplies for the year. So, if you have them, and the teacher wants them, bring those supplies.
There are usually a few days lag time between MtT and the first day. This gives teachers a chance to stash communal supplies and calculate what might still need to be purchased (on her own dime). This also frees up time on the first few days for the teacher to accomplish more than just organizing and sorting of stuff.
Plus, your child will have everything she needs for Day 1 already stowed in her desk or locker, and won’t be lugging it to school.
For little kids who are new to the whole school thing, or for older kids with more than one classroom, taking pictures can help them to find their way.
Schools can be confusing and busy in those first few days. Photos can provide touchstones and guidance toward the right places.
So take those pictures, and then print them out so that your kiddo can look at them on the bus and in the halls.
Meet the Teacher is NOT, I repeat NOT, the time to go into your child’s life history or academic record. It is not the time to request advanced or scaled back assignments. It is not the time to get super specific.
It is the time for general questions.
Stay general, open minded, and ready to listen. If you ask about how long he or she has been teaching, please try to keep it professional. A young teacher might feel like you are questioning her experience and knowledge. A veteran teacher might think you are questioning his age or ability to keep up with the times.
You also want to be aware of any homework or behavior policies going into the first day, as well as sharing your contact info with the teacher. Many teachers have a dual purpose form that collects parent contact info AND get some background on your child. Check out Teachers Pay Teachers for a special MilKids pack to help your teacher get to know your child.
There will be forms, so many forms. Yes, some of these might be computer based. Many will be paper.
For contact forms and student info forms, your teacher needs these ASAP (not during the first week).
Parent info populates her contact list, and makes sure that you receive emails throughout the year. Make sure it’s legible.
And wouldn’t it be nice if your teacher knew all about your child’s academic history, struggles, and quirks on Day 1? Handing in a complete student info form at Meet the Teacher Day sure helps!
In addition to things to fill out, there will be things to collect. The PTA, sports teams, Girl and Boy Scouts, local libraries and after school clubs will all have things on your child’s desk at Meet the Teacher. Take them or throw them in the recycling, but don’t leave them on the desk.
The teacher will have to clean it up later.
This teacher is not like your last teacher, and this grade is not like the one before either. It will be harder, more challenging, and feature different rules and expectations. Accept that this is the case right now, and your year will be easier from the start.
Be willing to roll with the punches for the first few weeks. Your child will be adjusting to the new teacher, expectations, and challenges, too. Yes, they might be “bored” or think it’s “too hard.” And it might be either of those things. Or it might be that your child is just adjusting, and it will even out soon.
If you still have concerns heading into the second month, that is the time to request a meeting. With the teacher.
Bottom line: show up to Meet the Teacher. It will help you, and your child, feel comfortable on the first day of school!