What do you guys think of "Meet the Teacher" letters? Do you do them?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Em_Catz, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jul 29, 2014

    Do you all distribute "Meet the Teacher" letters to students on the first day of school?

    I never thought to write a "Meet the Teacher" letter until a few minutes ago when I saw one on Pintrest. Apparently it's kind of a big thing because I saw a lot of teachers had pinned their letters. Most of them included 1 - 3 photos of themselves.

    On the one hand it doesn't really seem like my style and I feel a little leery about writing things about my personal life (even minor ones) on a sheet of paper and distributing it to strangers.

    Also I'd feel weird about parents having a picture of me. I know, I know, they could easily snap a picture of me at school but that's a lot less likely to happen (plus if someone wanted to do something weird with my photo it'd be easier to narrow it down).

    On the other hand, it seems like a cute idea and as a parent I'd love a letter like that. Plus it may make parents view me as more approachable (double edged sword if I have any hellicopter parents this year) and personable. If I was a first grader, I'd love to learn more about my new teacher and that s/he is an actual, real live person outside of school.
     
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  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 29, 2014

    We do a parent letter about our class. I include a short blurb about my education and experience. No pictures. Truthfully I'd imagine there are pictures of you out there somewhere. One of my kids tracked down my senior graduation picture by googling my name. It wouldn't bother me in the least to include it on a letter like what you describe.
     
  4. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Seems more like a thing for the class website, if you have a lot of parents with access to the internet.
     
  5. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I send a letter home prior to Open House. In the first paragraph I write 3-4 sentences about myself. I think it would be weird to just send a letter home and not introduce myself in it at all. I do not include any pictures. The main purpose of the letter is for me to give them information about Open House (which supplies to label, the hours, etc.).
     
  6. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    All I would send was a postcard. We don't post class lists until a few days before school starts, so the children would receive their postcard the Friday or Saturday before the first day of school.

    Most teachers in my district don't send anything.
     
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I wouldn't write an about me section, other than a super short blurb. I live with my boyfriend, which some people might have issues with... so I can't really write about that, even though he's an important part of my life. (Other people might write about a spouse and kids.) Same goes for an "about the teacher" bulletin board.

    I like the idea of sending a really short postcard instead just welcoming them to their new class and saying you're excited to meet them.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    It depends. In the schools I have taught it, we have a Meet the Teacher night a few days before school begins. This is where the teacher meets the students and parents just to say hi, and to reduce the "first day jitters" a bit for the students. Then, I find it is a good idea to introduce myself to the parents and students a bit in a letter.

    If your first meeting of your students is the first day of school, then a Meet the Teacher letter might not be the correct letter to use.
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I agree completely not to share about your personal life. Instead share things like how long you have taught, how you are excited about the school year, and simple things that are related only to teaching.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    You could also include some personal things that aren't too personal like "I love to read and my favorite series is Harry Potter. My favorite book when I was your age was When You Give a Moose a Muffin" or something like that.
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I have a meeting with the parents the first day and givem them a letter with all the pertinent information (that I also go through that day as well).
     
  12. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    1-3 photos??? I could see one, but if a teacher sent three photos of themselves with a letter I'd think they were narcissistic at the very least.

    When I look at teacher "about me"'s, which I'm always interested in, I look at experience, education, certifications, experience with particular populations, whether they have kids themselves and their kids ages/genders, and then things like hobbies and interests and maybe where they grew up.

    For me, good things are:
    • 5 or more years of experience
    • has kids, preferably boys older than 5
    • experience with ELL populations
    • a variety of interests
    • good grammar/spelling

    That's about initial perception on reading, though, and I've had first-year teachers impress me more than teachers with years of experience, and teachers without kids do better than teachers with kids. So it's just an initial pass kind of thing.
     
  13. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I've always written a welcome letter. I've never heard of including photos though. I write about my experience/background, say I'm so happy to be teaching their child this year, etc., provide contact info, beg for donations of tissues and clorox wipes (since I can't send a supply list), and give any other information I think that they need right away.
     
  14. Organic Poppy

    Organic Poppy Rookie

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    I used to when I was a new teacher. I've been at this school for nine years. I figure no one cares about my degrees anymore.

    I also have a sensitive situation with my family that I would rather not introduce to parents. My son died as an infant in 2012 and my daughter was born still this past February. I dread any questions about whether I have children, but at the same time I refuse to to pretend like they didn't exist. If I put an About Me section my mothering instincts would compel me to add them.
     
  15. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    :thumb: This is where I put it. All our parents have e-mail addresses, so they all have some sort of internet access. Last year, I included a picture of my husband and I at Disney World and a picture of my cats. Kids always love seeing pictures of my cats!

    We have a meet the teacher day - I'm going to give the parents my contact info and the class website and blog (I think I'm making magnets with this information). On the website, they can see more about me. I put personal information, but it's very vague - I like Disneyland and Disney World, I'm married and have two cats, etc. Nothing too probing or personal; just stuff that helps me seem more like a real person to the kids.

    I am so sorry. :(
     
  16. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    As someone who has had four pregnancies but only a single living child, I so understand. Sometimes I wonder if we teach because of our mothering instincts, or if our mothering instincts just make us better teachers. It is a fact that I will still well up after all of these years if someone tells me about deceased children, or an inability to carry a pregnancy to a successful completion. My heart goes out to you.:hugs:
     
  17. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    :hugs: I am terribly sorry and can't even begin to imagine your pain...
     
  18. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    At many preschools, it is considered good practice to have About the Teacher bulletin boards introducing the staff, with a picture and some information to help parents get to know the staff and feel more comfortable leaving their children in our care. It is also common practice to highlight teachers in the newsletters or in letters at the beginning of the year. I think almost anyone can think of things to say without crossing boundaries. It is good for parents to think of us as real people.
     
  19. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    At my old school every teacher sent out postcards to students so they knew what room to go to on the first day and the teacher's name. Some teachers also sent home introduction letters as well. I generally typed up a letter telling a little bit about me and giving information about what we would be covering in 5th grade, policies, etc. I put these on the students' desks along with the handbook and any other forms and notices sent home on back to school night. Some time in the first couple days of school when we needed a break I let the kids "interview" me in class. Of course I always reserved the right to say some information was too personal to share, and I told them outright that asking about age and weight was just plain rude.
     
  20. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    if I decide to do a letter that's a really good way to do it. I don't want to put a pic of my husband, family, friends, etc. I saw one teachers letter had a teacher Clipart and no picture of her. I LOVE pigs (favorite animal) so maybe I'll put a piggy clipart.

    :thumb: you and Dg hit the nail on the head. I'll give generic info if I do it.
     
  21. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I am about as private an individual as you can meet. That being said, I wouldn't be averse to doing it, if I fell in love with the idea. There are A LOT more permanent sort of things, than your personal pictures on a piece of paper. Something like that, actually has a a shelf-life.
     
  22. Loveslabs

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    When my children were in elementary school I hated them because the teachers wrote about their favorite gift ideas.
    For example....
    I love shopping at Target while enjoying a little treat from Starbucks. I also love eating at .....

    At Christmas time the PTO would send home a letter to each family about the teacher. Sure enough it would say.....
    Mrs. So and So loves gift cards to Target, Starbucks, and (insert name of restaurant.)

    TACKY!!!
     
  23. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    I send a letter out to my parents and a postcard to my students. The letter is plain and simple about school stuff. The only thing about me is my name. I have attendance policies, homework stuff, and list of extra things we need for the class. The postcard is just to say hello and glad that you are in my class. This way at meet the teacher night for the most part questions have been answered and I can spend some time with the kids.
     
  24. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    :eek: Tacky isn't a strong enough word. If a parent wants to get me a gift, great. But it's not something I expect or can imagine ever asking for. I had a coworker a few years ago who broke down and cried in my classroom because she didn't receive as many Christmas gifts from her class as she felt she should have.

    I know we all have moments where we're more sensitive, but while gifts are great, they're a luxuary, not an expectation/requirement.
     
  25. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Yeah, but when Christmas comes around, who wants to get stuck with $100's of dollars worth of Subway gift cards or other things you have to force yourself to end up using. I've been asked by parents (at x-mas and end of the year) WHAT gift card I would like them to give me.
     
  26. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    I agree completely on them being a luxury, but as a parent I do appreciate it when a teacher makes some of the things they like known. Otherwise I end up really shooting in the dark when I DO want to get something for them. And it would be nice to be able to select things other than gift cards...
     
  27. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I have a complete packet that I give parents. It has some forms for them to fill out for me about their home and family. It also includes a letter about me, my job history, and a little about my family. I also staple a business card with my contact information to the front of it.
     
  28. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I don't do that, but one year a parent got me a gift card to a farm store because they knew my husband was an Ag teacher and my kids showed livestock. I thought it was sweet they thought of me as a person with a life outside of school.
     
  29. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    That's true. If I included something about gifts, I'd say something like:

    "Mrs. Catz loves reading, going to baseball games with Mr. Catz, throwing toys for her kitten to catch, watching movies with her friends and gardening.

    Pigs are her favorite animal, so she likes to collect things with pigs on them. She even drinks peppermint tea out of a pig shaped mug and has socks with flying pigs on them!"


    If I were a parent looking to buy the teacher a gift, I feel like that would give me a lot of ideas. If I were a parent not looking for a gift, I'd just assume the teacher was telling about herself.

    That might be too subtle, but that's my personality. I can be direct when it's a necessity (ie: "Your child doesn't do their homework." or "Your child is making great progress in reading. I just want to work on their sight words".) When it's something I want but don't need, then I'm subtle/indirect
     
  30. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    I had to create one as a writing sample for an interview. I usually keep it brief and focused on art class rather than myself. It's more of a way for me to gather contact information from my hundreds of students :)
     
  31. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    I have a section on our class website about me (including a pic), but in my parent letter I stick to helpful information like the address for the website, how to contact me, some of the things they can expect this year, etc.
     
  32. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Generally it should be the job of the PTO to gather this kind of info via a survey or something rather than the teachers advertising their own preferences directly to the parents.
     
  33. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    I was going to say the same thing. As a private preschool teacher, this is the norm. Therefore we don't send welcome letters with teacher info. In fact, our pictures are posted right outside of the classroom along with lesson plans, newsletters, and daily highlights about the day. In our bios we are encouraged to share personal tidbits such as info about our place of origin, languages spoken, families and hobbies in addition to the typical degree related info. It has never been a problem.

    In the elementary school setting, my children's teachers have always given us a letter with a little info about themselves as well as the classroom. It was always appreciated.
     
  34. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

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    I have an all-inclusive Back-to-School letter that goes home on the first day of school. It does introduce me, but very little personal information. I tell where and when I received my education, how long I have been at the school, and some of my hobbies. (In my spare time I enjoy watching baseball, bowling, reading biographies, and singing.) It's enough of an insight that makes me a real human being, without getting too specific and personal. I then go on to explain the classroom management plan, homework procedure, invite them to Back to School Night, and let them know how to contact me at school.
     

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