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There are so many things to remember to do at the beginning of a new school year, and a lot can be overlooked. This to-do list is escalated when you’re a beginning teacher.
If you've been listening to the podcast for a while, you know that I recommend that you do a monthly newsletter for parents every single month of the school year. However, when it comes to that first day of school, your first day of school packet needs to contain different types of information than the kind of information you're going to give parents throughout the school year.
If you have absolutely no idea where to start, don’t worry because we're going to dive in and talk about all of that so that you can ensure that you don't miss anything important.
I now know exactly what you need to communicate to parents, but it took me some time to learn these things! Talking about this takes me back to my very first day of teaching. I was so proud of myself because I actually had put together a little newsletter for parents.
The purpose of this newsletter was to introduce myself and tell them about our classroom. I quickly learned that I had made it a little too much “me” focused and completely missed including a lot of essential information that parents needed to know. 😬
What’s worse is that when the end of the day came and I was dismissing my students, I saw other students from my grade level walking around school with an entire “Welcome to School” packet. Suddenly I felt silly sending my students home with their one page newsletter.
If I had known that I needed a packet of information for parents, it would have prevented me from getting so many questions about simple things from nervous parents. I didn’t think in advance of everything that I needed to tell them. I never want you to feel the way that I did on that first day of school.
To help you avoid making the same mistake that I did, I want to explicitly teach you the different things that you should include in your first day of school welcome packet (14 things to be exact!). You already have one million things going on that you need to think about. The last thing you need to do is have to answer the same questions from parents over and over again. It’s actually very preventable when you're strategic and intentional about the type of information you give to parents in that first newsletter.
A lot of the information I recommend that you include in your welcome packet may seem like things that you shouldn’t have to worry about as a teacher, such as reminders of school-wide events and contact information for other staff members.
But, the truth is that we do have to handle all of these things and ultimately, the more information you give, the less questions you’ll have. I encourage you to think about this information in advance so it doesn’t hit you like a ton of bricks when you’re in the midst of your first week of school.
As you prepare for your first week, I want to remind you to be gentle with yourself during this season. Try and enjoy this experience, especially if this is your first year. The group of students who are about to come into your classroom will always be your first group of students! So try to enjoy being present with them.
Inside this week's show, you'll learn:
I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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