Back to school night advice for new, veteran, and all teachers in between
I always write Back To School Night on my calendar right when we get the date. No matter what though, that special event always seems to sneak up on me! I am always rushing around the hour before caregivers are set to arrive and honestly, I hate that feeling of rush and unpreparedness. So, I asked teachers in the Missing Tooth Grins community for advice for Back To School Night for new teachers. However, after reading their amazing responses, I realized all teachers would benefit from this advice! With over 400 replies, I obviously couldn’t list them all, but I hope you enjoy and gather something new from this amazing advice.
Keep reading for all of the back to school night advice!
Back To School Night Advice For Brand New Teachers
“Take a big breath and see the positives in each first you get to have as a teacher. Don’t be afraid to copy exactly what your other team members are doing! Each time you experience one of these events tell yourself “This is my first back to school night!” See it as a joy and a blessing instead of being nervous!”-Angela P.
Don’t be intimidated. You know your stuff. You may be young, but you are an expert. Yes be prepared, but having all the cute handouts is not necessary. Do not stress yourself out toooooooo much. It will get done and parents will get to know you, trust you and your school year will be off to a great start.-Debbie
Thinking about parents and caregivers
Have parents write a note to their students that you can stick in their desk for the first day of school. This is a special little thing the kids will have that first day of school.-Jocelyn G.
Don’t stress out about it! As long as you’re prepared you will do great. Even if things don’t go as planned you will have multiple times to redeem yourself with them throughout the year. During my first meet the teacher I was grilled by a parent for things I couldn’t control (switch to half day, being virtual, no specials, etc.) and I held on it to it for a few months but by the end of the year she was one of my most supportive parents. Be prepared for things to go wrong, but just know, you have all year to prove yourself to them (and yourself!).-Madison
Be confident, organized, and prepare what you want to say beforehand. Parents will feel at ease if they can sense that you know what you are talking about. If you do not know an answer to a question, it is ok to tell them that you are still learning the schools policies, and that you will follow up with an email or phone call to answer their question once you have an answer.-Mary H.
Ask the parents to tell you about their children. Parents love talking about their kids and it lets them know you are interested in getting to know them. Ask the children something personal…favorite color, hobby, tv show, pet’s names. Tuck that info away and bring it up in conversation during the 1st weeks of school so you can start to establish a bond with the kids.-Holly M.
How To Break The Ice
Ask each kid one question about themselves to break the ice! “What is your favorite thing you did this summer?” “Do you have any siblings?” “Who’s your favorite super hero?” Let them know you care about them and make them feel comfortable before you start giving instructions about where to put school supplies or answering parent questions. It will make a huge difference!-Emma R.
Have forms ready for parent emails and transportation for they year. Have labels of student names and subjects so the parents can help the kids label notebooks when putting supplies into their desk (if students bring supplies that night).-Hannah F.
Don’t overwhelm parents with information that you want them to have. Instead of doing a long speech give them a handout / packet with the information. They can refer back to the handout later when they have more time. Use your time during back to school night to start relationships with those parents.-Karen
Be prepared – have examples of materials you will be using in September ready to show parents; tell them a little about yourself – we are expected to share a package of school and class expectations and curriculum objectives for the year.-Sandra
Have a notepad handy. I’ve had parents ask questions that I’m not able to answer right then and I tell them I’ll get back to them. My first year, I totally forgot who had asked what because I didn’t write it down.-Stacy
Have boxes set out for supplies & a Sharpie to write names on supplies if they haven’t already – one for crayons, one for markers, etc. Makes it easier because everything is already sorted.-Sindy M.
Grab your camera!
One thing I started doing was taking a picture of each student holding a name tag. Move in night goes so fast. You don’t always get to spend as much time as you like. Then I can look at the pics so on the first day, I can welcome the students by name.-Sandy
Take pictures of students with their families. This will help you learn names and will help match parent to child for future events.-Erin M.
Back To School Night Advice: Don’t stress about a “Pinterest” room
Keep it simple! It doesn’t need to be pinteresty cute or over the top. Let your personality show. This is the time to start building those strong positive relationships with families and students. I like to create small activities where I can get to know each student (their favorites, etc)-Kristen
Your room doesn’t have to look perfect or have everything all set up, prepare the most important information you want parents to take with them in those few short minutes you have with them, but most of all, try to make a connection with all families & students. Don’t forget to smile! It will work out.-Tara
Set up stations
Have stations set up to make it easy for parents to know what to fill out and grab; especially because at times you will be busy talking to someone and won’t be able to tell every parent what to do.-Meagan
Have something fun like a riddle or brain teaser at the front door and use it as a conversation started when needed. I collect withdrawn library books and books that need rehoming and have a free book box on the way out. Have a get to know you questionnaire that parents and students can work on together and then have them post it in the class on a whiteboard if you want other families to get to know each other. Label Supply boxes and cubbies so people know where things can go. Scavenger hunts are fun for finding things around the class. I am even thinking about an escape room theme!-Tamara C.
Don’t forget about siblings
Have a small area set up with paper, crayons, books, etc. where young students or younger siblings can go while parents fill out paperwork.-Bailey M.
To have fun! It helps me calm my nerves and avoid over-thinking everything if I just have fun with the students and their families. It helps me relax! Also, have music playing softly in the background. Helps calm the nerves, too!-Amanda G.
Back To School Night: Download this free checklist
Are you still feeling a little overwhelmed? I know that was a lot of advice, and trust me… There’s even more! I received so much great advice that we may need another post! To help you get ready for Back To School Night, download this free back to school night checklist! You can type right into it for the things you need to add!
Related Post: How To Host A Smooth Back To School Night