As a student teacher, writing a letter to parents is your first step in communicating with families. It serves as their introduction to you as their child’s teacher. With these tips, you will make a great first impression!
Keep your tone more formal than casual, but keep your letter easy to read and understand. Remember, English is not every family’s first language, and parents lead busy lives! Once you have written a first draft, read over your letter checking closely for typos and grammatical mistakes. It can be helpful to have a friend help you with this step or to read your letter out loud. You want to show families that they can trust you with their child’s education!
Introduce yourself and describe your role
Families usually want to know the answers to these questions:
- Who are you? That includes your name and how they can contact you (which may be directly or through your cooperating teacher).
- Where are you studying?
- What is your teaching focus?
- How often will you be teaching in their child’s class?
- How closely will you be working with the cooperating teacher?
- Do you have any other background working with kids? Here you can describe any observation or practicum hours through your teacher prep program and relevant courses in topics such as writing lesson plans. You can also feel free to describe any other experience, for instance, “I have been a Sunday school teacher for 4 years,” or “I am a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.”
- A little bit about you as a person, such as, “In my spare time I enjoy running and camping and spending time with my husband and my dog.”
- Consider including a small, professional picture of yourself.
Describe why you want to teach
Tell families why you are passionate about teaching or becoming a teacher. This could be as simple as, “I love helping children learn!” or as complex as including some of the hopes you have for the students in your classroom. It is helpful at this stage to take some time to consider your own goals for your time as a student teacher.
It’s good to keep a balanced view in your communication with families, both in your introduction letter as well as in any phone calls, emails, and in-person communication. You’re probably feeling nervous, but try to summon your confidence. It helps families to feel that they are in good hands.
That said, you are going to make mistakes (we all do), and you aren’t expected to know everything. It’s okay to say, “You know, I tried an approach today when Jill was shouting out answers that didn’t work very well. I’m interested to hear what you do at home that works well.” It’s also okay to say in your letter something along the lines of how you are always looking to learn more and you are looking forward to working together.
Now that you are ready to introduce yourselves to families, take some time to prepare yourself for the first day of student teaching. You’ve worked hard to get here, you’re going to do great!