Relationships are built on communication and start with a warm and welcoming “Hello!” Classroom teachers have a special responsibility to build positive working relationships with parents, guardians, and families of each student on their roster. Research proves the power of first impressions and common sense supports the importance of this teaching and learning goal. However you choose to send out that first greeting - with intention and a little bit of effort, it will pay off - for students, families, and you, the teacher!
I discovered this video greeting on YouTube from 4th grade teacher Mr. Reed, who extends a fun and upbeat message to future students and parents/guardians. Who wouldn’t want to be in Mr. Reed’s 4th grade? Who wouldn’t want their child to spend a school year with this energetic educator? Watch the video below!
But wait - I don’t want you to get intimidated by talented and techy Mr. Reed! Introductions to parents can really be so simple - introduce yourself and connect with a friendly greeting and invitation. Maybe you’ve always sent a welcome letter or postcard, maybe you’ve always used phone calls as your first parent touchpoint. No matter what you’ve always done - this year, why not try something new? Here are some solid ways to connect with parents before school starts:
- Letters - Include a welcome to the school year, a few details about you, hopes for students, and your teaching philosophy. Include a URL for your class webpage with an invitation to check it out! I love these ideas for how to jazz up your welcome-back-to-school letter.
- Postcards - Big impact for greetings and introductions - a very personal touch to send a handwritten note.
- Emails - FREE - Easy to create and send off with the click of a button. Once your class roster is assigned, start building your homeroom group email list and you’re set to connect for the rest of the school year! Don’t forget to embed a link to your class website/blog!
- Phone calls - Individual calls and/or voicemail messages offer the sound of your voice to set a positive, enthusiastic tone for the school year ahead! Practice, record, review for positivity and warmth in your delivery.
- Website greeting - Post a welcome message on your class blog or webpage; include a general introduction with photo, philosophy, hopes and dreams for students.
- Video clip - Share one on your website or attach in an email - it will enhance any written introduction! (I created a 19-second Hello/Intro video clip in about 15 minutes experimenting with the Clip app on my iPhone. If I can do this, you can, too!) Check it out! Hello video example!
Your class webpage or blog is a surefire way to deliver an introduction every new school year. Be sure to update your greeting - add a current photo of yourself with some reference to pop culture or other relatable fact that will spark a connection. Create a video clip (see last idea on the list) and upload it to your page. Not all families will click into your webpage, but you’ll “be there to greet them” if and when they do!
Finally, here’s one last recommendation: create a checklist to track which parents you’ve met. Set a goal to keep reaching out in a variety of ways until you’ve met at least one parent/guardian for every student on your roster.
So, there ya have it - inspiration for introducing yourself to parents. Remember that none of these intro formats will connect with 100% of your students’ parents/guardians. There will always be communication challenges, but bottom line - every time you reach out, you’ve taken smart steps in the right direction for all the right reasons! Prioritize this professional task - reach out with positive intentions and an invitation for teamwork and collaboration to support each student’s success!
If you’re interested in learning more about how to engage with parents of your students - beyond introductions - check out the following Learners Edge course options: