Whether school has already begun or if it’s right around the corner, Hello Teacher Notesare our new favorite way of making a connection with our teachers at the beginning of the school year. . .
Last August, when Maddy began Kindergarten, I was a nervous wreck:
Did I do my part to prepare her?
How many sight words did she know?
Could she count to twenty?
Why didn’t we read more this summer?
Can she even write her full name?
OHmygosh, was she even able to recite her phone number and address?
Did she know how to open her juice box without help?
Realizing that I could only do so much to prepare her this late in the game, I decided to focus my attention on something else—someone else—the person with whom Maddy would be spending her loooong days as a big-time Kindergartner. I wanted Maddy to feel as comfortable as possible with this person and maybe feel a little connection with her even before the bell rang on the first day.
I switched my focus to her teacher, with the help of Hello Teacher Notes.
- Hello Teacher Notes: Knowing first-hand how incredibly busy the initial weeks of school can be for teachers as they organize their classrooms and prepare their lessons, I wanted to do something that would be easy for Maddy, would take up very little time for her teacher, and would be a little something special for the two of them before they really got to know each other.
Owen works hard on his note for his teacher.
So I created a Hello Teacher Note—a very basic introduction letter from Maddy to her teacher that included a tiny picture of Maddy in the upper right-hand corner. It’s really very simple. The Hello Teacher Note just includes Maddy’s name and birthday, along with spaces for Maddy to write her favorite food, color, animal, book, holiday, and activity. It also includes a second page for the teacher to complete.
The teacher’s page mirrors the first page but has a little blurb on the bottom that says, “I will pick this up at the Open House, you can leave it in my desk or cubby, or you can mail it to: (space for student’s address)”.
Maddy delivered her Hello Teacher Noteto her teacher’s mailbox one late August morning last year, and even walking up to the building, going into the office and meeting the secretaries, and searching for her teacher’s mailbox helped us all a little. And our first-ever Back-to-School Night, this over-emotional mom could have ugly cried when the sweet teacher walked over to me and handed me the return letter to give to Maddy. When we read it the next day, my baby was beaming, and she was more excited than ever to hit Kindergarten.
This year, Maddy, Owen, and Cora each wrote a Hello Teacher Note—Maddy to her first grade teacher, Owen to his pre-K teacher, and Cora to her preschool teacher–and we set aside one morning to deliver all of the letters. It was seriously exciting for them; I think these letters are a super way of moving gently into the new year, and we’ll be writing them each year for as long as we can.
Even if the year is already underway, Hello Teacher Notes can be used to create a stronger connection between teacher and student. The notes give everyone a little more of a reason to talk, get to know each other, and realize their commonalities before the year is really up and rolling.
Want to download the Hello Teacher Note to try it out yourself? Click on any of the hyperlinked words, and it’s yours!
fyi: This was originally posted as part of VolunteerSpot’s Views on Back to School Series. VolunteerSpot’s free online sign up sheets save time, eliminate reply-all email, and make it easy for more parents to get involved at school and in the community. Register at VolunteerSpot before October 1st, 2010 using promotion code “TeachersSave” for a chance to win $100 in free classroom supplies for the teacher of your choice from ClassWish.
AND hey! Happy Day!! It’s a GIVEAWAY!
Volunteer Spot has graciously offered teach mama readers the opportunity to win a Kids’ Art Package from DreamSakes which includes 10 free high-resolution museum-quality scans of their children’s artwork and a personalized gift. Seriously! Two great companies joining forces makes me want to sing!
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here (and include your email address) sharing one of your personal or family back-school-year goals. Will you do homework right after school? Will you volunteer more? Do you hope to be early–rather than just making the bell every day? Are you going to be super-organized for 2010-2011?
This giveaway will end next Tuesday, 8/31/10, and a winner will be chosen by random.org.
Many thanks to Volunteer Spot and DreamSakes for sponsoring this giveaway and for allowing our family to try DreamSakes out, too!