During Back to School Night, you have a great opportunity to connect with the parents of your students. One good way to do this is to hand out contact information. We took this a step further and printed the contact information on business card sized magnets. That way, parents can put the magnet on the refrigerator door and have it to refer to throughout the year.
Doing this offers several benefits. The first is that it makes it clear to parents that you value communication. By giving them an easy way to contact you, it’s evident that you welcome their thoughts, ideas and questions.
A second benefit is that it truly does make it easier for parents to contact you. While many teachers view this as a negative, I always prefer to have a parent come straight to me. Otherwise, they will still communicate, but it will be on the sidelines of the soccer fields, the bleachers of the basketball courts, or the hallways outside scout meetings. If they contact me, I can work with them to fix problems, alleviating the unhappiness.
In addition, parents know their children better than anyone else. If something is going on at home, they can let me know. Often, this makes a difference in the way a student behaves at school and I can be better prepared. They also know if their child is not understanding the material. While I want the student to come to me, occasionally, it’s necessary for a parent to start the conversation.
When we create the magnets, we try to keep them simple. Sheets of magnetic “paper” can be purchased at an office supply store. Most word processing programs have a business card template. We use the template and list our names, our planning time, email addresses, and the school phone number, with our extensions. If you are comfortable having parents call you at home, you could include that number, as well.
Once they are printed out, a minute or two with a paper cutter and you have magnetic business cards, ready to hand out. These are also helpful when you have students move in, mid-year. Nothing looks more welcoming to new students/parents than a packet of information with includes ways to contact the new teachers.