You’re not the only one! Your students are too. They have many questions about the upcoming school year…Who will be in my class? Who will my teacher be? Will s/he be nice? Are we going to have any fun at all?
Take this opportunity to intrigue your students, make them feel comfortable, and build excitement for the upcoming school year. A simple post card or letter will do just that.
You can get a mailing list from your school for the addresses (also ask if you can use postage from the school to mail them).
A few years ago, I decided to make a post card and letter for my students but I wanted to add an additional touch. Hand deliver all of them. Let me also add that this was for an inner-city school. What an experience! If you did not grow up in the inner-city but plan to teach students there, you really should know where they are coming from and at least see where they live.
I was successful in making it to about 20 out of 27 homes. Unfortunately, some students had moved over the summer so the new tenants received a warm welcome from me instead! The look of surprise on the students’ faces when they saw their new teacher at their door, in their neighborhood was priceless (let me point out that there were also many unanswered doors since opening the door to a strange woman isn’t always a good idea!).
The effort over a few days went a long way to build great relationships with the students and families. I understand if you may not feel comfortable going door to door (see note about safety below). A post card, picture, and/or letter can have a wonderful effect on a child as they anticipate the new school year. Give them something to look forward to and dream about and they’ll be like putty in your hands when the school year starts.
A note on safety: Make sure you have some sort of understanding of the neighborhoods you are going into. If you are not familiar with the area, ask someone who has lived there for a long time. Taking someone with you can be a great idea. Make sure you have a charged cell phone also. And in the end, if it just doesn’t feel right then move on! On one outing my husband accompanied me on, we decided to call it a day after we heard several gun shots (not that most situations would be that extreme but you need to be careful!). Be smart about what you’re doing but also remember, this may be where your student is living.