Make a positive impression by showing that you are invested in your child's education from day one. —Jenny GK
A witty and engaging podcast episode where the hilarious Caitlin Kindred and Jenny GK aim to help teachers create a memorable Meet the Teacher experience—and parents make a good impression—through their lived experiences and insightful tips for success.
From this episode, you'll be able to
Introducing Caitlin Kindred and Jenny GK, the modern-day educational mavens whose teaching styles are as different—and welcoming—as their personalities. Their combined 25+ years of teaching have been fueled by their commitment to making education relatable and engaging.
Caitlin and Jenny’s knack for breaking down complex ideas, coupled with their Master's degrees in education, make them the perfect people to get advice from on Educational Do’s and Don’ts. Over time, they’ve learned how to navigate the delicate balancing act of mixing formal education with an informal, friendly approach, and it shines through in their insightful tips for Meet the Teacher Day.
3 'Meet the Teacher' Dos for Teachers...
...And 3 Dos for Parents
Wanna see the rest? Check out our blog post, here. We also included a link to 20 icebreaker activities for all grade levels in the post!
Effective 'Meet the Teacher' Strategies
To maximize the productivity of Meet The Teacher events, Caitlin and Jenny discuss the importance of preparedness. Teachers should prepare comprehensive handouts detailing their teaching styles and personal interests, while parents should be ready with meaningful questions to ask. Moreover, maintaining effective communication between teachers and parents throughout the academic year is key for fostering a supportive educational environment for students.
The best support is a rating and a share.
CK & GK
00:00:00 - Jenny GK
You. Well, it's one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready. Tuesday, let's go. Ah.
00:00:12 - Caitlin Kindred
Oh, my goodness. Hi, everyone. It's Tuesday. We're so glad you're here. My voice is cracking like a 14 year old boy right now because I'm laughing at that. This week, we're continuing to prep you for Back to School, so we're getting you ready for Meet the Teacher Day with these do's and don'ts for teachers and parents. Everyone likes to hear the don'ts, so make sure you stick around for that. But first, I need to introduce my co host, the favorite of everyone here, my musically Beyonce like alien, Jenny. What musically Beyonce likes? I feel like these compliments get more and more random, but I'm okay with it. It just is funnier.
00:01:08 - Jenny GK
Is it like a site that creates them for you?
00:01:12 - Caitlin Kindred
It is 100% a generator I would steal directly from the show because I know the show that well. But I need something that's going to mix it up a little. Yeah.
00:01:23 - Jenny GK
That's so great. That's amazing.
00:01:24 - Caitlin Kindred
My own, like, just pull random like a mad libs.
00:01:30 - Jenny GK
So last week I called you Chicago because sometimes you're on fire. This time I'm going to call you Cleveland because you yay Ohio.
00:01:45 - Caitlin Kindred
Having never been to Ohio, that's even funnier to me. I love it. That's awesome. Oh, goodness, y'all. It's been a couple weeks since we recorded. We are ready to just share all of the hot messes there are lives. So let's do this. Let's have some circle time. Get ready. Jenny, what are you obsessed with right now?
00:02:07 - Jenny GK
Okay, so we talked about Amazon Prime purchases last time and one of the things I had ordered was matcha. I had ordered the tea and all of the accoutrement and all the stuff had arrived, but no tea.
00:02:20 - Caitlin Kindred
I'm sorry. Say that word one more time.
00:02:23 - Jenny GK
00:02:26 - Caitlin Kindred
Wee. I know what you're saying, but it just made me laugh that it was just so conversational and not many people use that word just randomly in conversation. Well done.
00:02:37 - Jenny GK
Not many people have correctly and everything. Fluent French speaker as a mother.
00:02:42 - Caitlin Kindred
That's true. That's true. You did say with the right emphasis and everything. Well done.
00:02:48 - Jenny GK
Thanks. So anyway, the matcha came in and the first time I made it was really bad. I did not do a good job. I watched a couple of videos, I read a little bit about it, and I realized that I had only put a third of much powder as you would need. So no wonder it tasted just like green water. Now I've gotten quite good at it. Not that it's really that hard. You just, like, put tea in a bowl and whisk it. But still, I have done this skill. I have it and I have kind of enjoyed the ritual of it, which I thought I would. And so the other night, I made some matcha and I'm sipping it and just really enjoying it. I didn't know Matcha has caffeine. Yeah, it was 02:00 a.m. When I found this out. I'm like, why can I not go to bed? Oh, I'm an idiot.
00:03:45 - Caitlin Kindred
Do you know I've done that once with chocolate covered espresso beans? It didn't even occur to me. I was doing and I ate, like, fistfuls of these things, and I didn't sleep for, like, a solid 40 hours. I was like, why can I not calm down? My hands, like, shaking. My mom goes, there's a lot fewer of these. Did you just and you didn't put it all together? Yeah, that's what happened.
00:04:10 - Jenny GK
Yeah, the same thing. Garlic also can keep you up all night. I didn't know that. You have to eat it in a lot of amount. A lot of amount.
00:04:20 - Caitlin Kindred
The way that I measure it with my heart when I just dump it into recipes, because anyone who says one or two cloves of garlic is 100% wrong, right? Yeah.
00:04:29 - Jenny GK
I will tell you that I once got the roasted garlic appetizer at Moonshine. I get it almost every time I go, but I one time got it by myself and ate the entire head of roasted garlic and did not sleep until the next calendar day.
00:04:46 - Caitlin Kindred
Did you also smell?
00:04:48 - Jenny GK
Oh, I really bad.
00:04:52 - Caitlin Kindred
00:04:53 - Jenny GK
But this brings me to my other obsession.
00:04:55 - Caitlin Kindred
00:04:57 - Jenny GK
So I do enjoy cooking. I don't like making dinner. Do you see the difference?
00:05:02 - Caitlin Kindred
00:05:03 - Jenny GK
Like, the task of feeding everyone every single day. I don't know why these people have to eat every day, but that I do not enjoy. But experimenting, cooking, being creative in the kitchen, I really do like.
00:05:18 - Caitlin Kindred
00:05:19 - Jenny GK
But I'm like you. I love garlic, and I am not going to sit there and peel it and have my hands stink and DA DA DA. So I buy the garlic that comes in a jar.
00:05:29 - Caitlin Kindred
00:05:29 - Jenny GK
I know that chefs are rolling their eyes and saying, what are you doing?
00:05:34 - Caitlin Kindred
It makes your life easier.
00:05:35 - Jenny GK
But I was watching a guy, an Internet influencer cook guy, and he says, this recipe calls for garlic, but you know, I'm going to use my garlic. And I was like, that's it. A myth.
00:05:49 - Caitlin Kindred
Done. Always garlic.
00:05:52 - Jenny GK
I was like, I've never heard it be called garlic, but that's what I'm calling it from now on. And that's what I'm using.
00:05:58 - Caitlin Kindred
I love that. That's absolutely perfect. And you know what? Anything like that that makes your life easier, I don't personally see any reason to not use it. You know what I mean?
00:06:08 - Jenny GK
I also use the ginger paste in the same jar.
00:06:11 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah. I use the lemon juice that comes.
00:06:14 - Jenny GK
In the oh, please thing. Absolutely. I don't even feel like I have to confess that.
00:06:19 - Caitlin Kindred
No, it's not a big deal to me at all. Okay, well, I'm going to take a hard right on this, because my obsession is the thing that I'm literally telling anyone and everyone who asks, what should I watch next? If you have not watched Jury Duty on Amazon Prime, it is time to watch Jury Duty on Amazon Prime.
00:06:41 - Jenny GK
I have not even heard of this.
00:06:42 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay? So it is a show in which a precious 20 something man, I think he's like 27, 28, 29 somewhere there, thinks that he is filming a documentary about what Jury Duty is like in the La. County system.
00:07:01 - Jenny GK
00:07:03 - Caitlin Kindred
Instead, it is a reality show in which he is the only one who thinks he's the only one unaware of the fact that everyone around him is an actor. Every single person, the judge, the rest of the jury, the plaintiff, the attorneys, the defendant, everyone, everyone is fake. They go.
00:07:22 - Jenny GK
So it's like Truman Show and The Office.
00:07:26 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes. Except not depressing. Like The Truman Show is, okay. It is so precious. It's not like, overly sweet at all. There's some very crass humor, but also, it is so just stinking funny. Like, what this man tolerates, what secrets he keeps. It's so beautifully hilariously done. And the best part of it to me is that one, you get to see a really nice side of humanity because you're like, oh, my God, this man is such a good person. Right? But the other part of it is the actors in it, they had scenarios that they wanted to play out, except that if he didn't react a certain way, they would have to pivot immediately because you can't predict how this man is going to handle what's thrown at him. And it's so good. And I will tell you that the women in the show are absolutely perfect. They are perfectly cast. They are perfect actresses. It is amazing. There's one woman in there who says something like when she said that I wanted to punch her in the throat, and I was just like, my God, who are you and can you be my friend? And you forget that she's not a real. Like, this is not who she really is, but she's just so amazing and wonderful, and I love the show. And as an extra little added gem, james Marsden, the actor who he's in The Notebook, he's like the woman that she should have married, but she goes back to Ryan Gosling, that one. And he's also in Sonic. He's like Sonic's buddy in the Sonic movies. That came out fairly recently. Oops, I just hit my microphone is also in. And the person, the real like, sees James Marsden and James Marsden's like, I'm going to get out of this. I'm going to get out of this. And it's hilarious what James Marsden is and does in this show.
00:09:23 - Jenny GK
Okay, I'm ready.
00:09:24 - Caitlin Kindred
Spoiler alert, he doesn't get out of Jury Duty.
00:09:28 - Jenny GK
Well, it's all finished. We just finished shrinking on Apple TV, which is so good.
00:09:35 - Caitlin Kindred
So good. Yeah.
00:09:37 - Jenny GK
And we only have two Ted Lasso's left, and we've been saving them.
00:09:40 - Caitlin Kindred
This is it.
00:09:42 - Jenny GK
I feel like, we can finish Ted Lasso now because we can pick up jury duty.
00:09:46 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, it's like 30 ish minutes an episode and there's eight episodes and it's so great. It's not for kids, I will say that. Oh, sure. But it is so good. And it leads me into my gem of the week.
00:10:00 - Jenny GK
Oh, okay. Yes.
00:10:01 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay. So James Marsden, who I mentioned, is in Sonic. If you have not seen the Sonic movies, bless you. That means you don't have kids. But the Sonic soundtrack is definitely made for people our okay. Okay. So as my son is watching James Marston interact with Sonic, and the voice of Sonic is actually, you know, in parks and, uh, John Ralphio bench something.
00:10:31 - Jenny GK
That'S the voice flush with Kai.
00:10:34 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, exactly. That guy. She's the worst, that guy. I love John Ralphio. Anyway, the soundtrack has a lot of great songs in it. And the other day I am walking past the shower and I hear my son singing, as he often does, but this time it's Here comes the Hot Stepper. And he's like, juice like a strawberry.
00:11:01 - Jenny GK
And I'm like, oh, my God.
00:11:03 - Caitlin Kindred
Because he doesn't really know the word. So he's trying, but it's just that one same line. The juice like a strawberry over and over and over again. And I was like, Are you singing? Here comes the hot stepper.
00:11:13 - Jenny GK
And he was like, yes you are.
00:11:14 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes, I am. And I said, where did you get that from? And he goes, Sonic. Just like, listen, if this is what watching Sonic is going to do, is going to turn you into somebody who respects millennial music from the early 90s, I'm going to be here for it. But it made me laugh so hard that he was just like, yeah, big deal.
00:11:34 - Jenny GK
Or the pessimistic side of me says, welcome to middle age. Your music from your childhood is now in kids movies.
00:11:43 - Caitlin Kindred
It's already been in the grocery store. Why can't it just be in everything all the time? It's fine. And I'm starting to have an understanding of why people's parents only listen to the same type of music all the time. Because it's a vibe. It's bringing you back to a certain time in your life. I get it now.
00:12:01 - Jenny GK
My dad, who's very into music, both writing it and listening to it and was a DJ when he was in college, says that the music that you listen to when you first start buying records yeah. Is the music that you will listen to your whole life. It's not the only listen, but that music will live with you your whole life.
00:12:21 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes. That explains why I listen to a lot of 90s rock.
00:12:25 - Jenny GK
It's why I still turn on the rembrandts all the time.
00:12:28 - Caitlin Kindred
00:12:29 - Jenny GK
No, I'm kidding.
00:12:31 - Caitlin Kindred
It's an interesting choice. He doesn't love a lot of Friends soundtrack all the time. All right. That's my gem.
00:12:41 - Jenny GK
So mine also has to do with a movie okay. And I have been holding on to this because it's funny enough that I couldn't send it to you in a text message. I needed to see your face react.
00:12:55 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay, let's hear it.
00:12:56 - Jenny GK
So on July 4, we decide to watch Independence Day.
00:13:02 - Caitlin Kindred
Is this a yearly thing?
00:13:03 - Jenny GK
No, this is the first time that the kids have seen it.
00:13:06 - Caitlin Kindred
00:13:07 - Jenny GK
All right. Because it's hotter than the hinges and we didn't have fireworks plans except for to drive around and see a bunch of different fireworks. We said, okay, let's stay home. We'll watch Independence Day, we'll watch Capitol Fourth, and then we'll drive around to all of these fireworks and try and catch as many finales from the car as we can.
00:13:27 - Caitlin Kindred
00:13:28 - Jenny GK
It was fun. It was really cool. But anyhow, we're watching this movie and the Bill Pullman speech in front of the hangar. This is our Independence Day, Abigail. My eleven year old says, oh, is this how they got the idea for 4 July?
00:13:53 - Caitlin Kindred
00:13:57 - Jenny GK
Wait, what? A movie about aliens attacking our planet in 1995 inspired a 220 something year tradition?
00:14:11 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes, we are. It was our emancipation from the alien invasion.
00:14:18 - Jenny GK
Abigail, I know that you don't spend a lot of time studying history, but I do think that somehow in your eleven years on this planet, you would have heard about how aliens tried to take it over.
00:14:30 - Caitlin Kindred
00:14:32 - Jenny GK
And we would not have waited until some random day to just be like, hey, let's watch this movie. It's a documentary about the alien invasion that happened across the planet.
00:14:44 - Caitlin Kindred
Right. Bill Pullman and Will Smith just really saving us from the brink destruction.
00:14:52 - Jenny GK
I go to Randy Quaid High School. Like snap.
00:14:59 - Caitlin Kindred
Randy Quaid. That Christmas I showed up at Chevy Chase's house. No big deal. Randy Quaj, is there?
00:15:12 - Jenny GK
No, that is not how they got the idea for July.
00:15:18 - Caitlin Kindred
And she's like deadly serious. You have to look at her, just be like, wait, did you really not.
00:15:23 - Jenny GK
I'm going to shake you.
00:15:25 - Caitlin Kindred
Right, yeah, I'm just going to let you think about that one. Just and then we're going to read.
00:15:30 - Jenny GK
Some books together.
00:15:34 - Caitlin Kindred
And start with four scored seven years ago speeches.
00:15:38 - Jenny GK
We're going to watch Hamilton again. She's seen it on Broadway. It's like, remember that whole thing? American Revolution. We've talked about this before. If nothing else, in the context of the king singing, you'll be back, right?
00:15:58 - Caitlin Kindred
This is why I love 6th graders so much. Like that 1112 year old range when they say things like that and then they randomly put things together. I remember one time, my science teammate, when I was teaching Colorado, had to stop a conversation where kids were talking about how Internet comes from the moon. And she was like, Whoa, wait, no. Internet does not come from the moon. I'm going to stop you right here. She had been like, listening and just letting them stuff, and then she was like, I got to intervene. I'm sorry. I can't let you think that. She said she threw out her lesson, and I'm pretty sure she taught it to the rest of her classes for the rest? Yeah.
00:16:37 - Jenny GK
Like, hey, just so you know, second period is hot, so we're just clearing the air.
00:16:42 - Caitlin Kindred
So we're just going to clear the air for everyone. And I'm going to skip this lab and we're going to do it tomorrow, and we're going to talk about how Internet does not not come from the moon, but it's just like one of those random things where you're like, how are you putting these things together? Alien invasion is the reason for independence. Guys, that seems like a great place to take a break. How did she do that?
00:17:25 - Jenny GK
You got to be kidding me. You got to be kidding. And not just, is this how they came up with the idea? But do you really think that we would have not told you about aliens trying to take over our planet in multiple cities only 20 years ago?
00:17:40 - Caitlin Kindred
Right? It's like 30. We're back, folks. But we're still talking about this thing because I'm rolling. This is like, where were you when the Twin Towers fell? Where were you when Michael Jackson died? Where were you when Jenny got shot.
00:17:57 - Jenny GK
When the aliens attacked our planet?
00:17:59 - Caitlin Kindred
Where were you when the aliens attacked the planet? And she just never knew? You just never told her where you were when the aliens attacked the planet? And she's probably resentful about it.
00:18:11 - Jenny GK
You should have told her. Why did I keep that a secret? I guess I just didn't think she was old enough to handle it the.
00:18:17 - Caitlin Kindred
Rest of our life. I was in the earthquake in 1989 in San Francisco, and my husband hears about it at least once a year. So let's be clear. There was this big traumatic event.
00:18:29 - Jenny GK
Well, that's what I'm saying. I felt like quarantine was pretty traumatic for me. I probably would have brought up in that time. Well, at least aliens aren't taking over the place again.
00:18:39 - Caitlin Kindred
Do you remember that one time when I was your age and the aliens were here? And we had to stay in our homes for fear of what they would do when they came into our houses? And then there was a big fireworks show where they blew up the Capitol, and it was, like, really scary. That blew up the White House. It was really scary. At least this isn't that right? In COVID we can go outside, but here? No, we can't go outside. Oh, my goodness. I can't believe it.
00:19:05 - Jenny GK
00:19:06 - Caitlin Kindred
00:19:06 - Jenny GK
Okay. It's back to school time, and we're kind of wrapping up these back to school ideas that we've had the last couple of episodes, and this one is kind of cool. As Caitlin and I were talking about how we wanted to present this, I originally said, let's do two episodes. Let's do one that's for teachers and let's do one that's for families. And Caitlin had this brilliant idea of, like, wait, what if we did it more as do's and don'ts, and then combined those ideas and say, okay, we'll have do's and don'ts for teachers, do's and don'ts for families all in one. So I'm pretty excited today to talk about meet the teacher day, the do's and don'ts for both teachers and visiting families.
00:19:54 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes, because this day is one that's filled with great anticipation all the way around. But also we just wanted to be mindful of the fact that we know that not everyone who listens to us is a teacher.
00:20:08 - Jenny GK
00:20:08 - Caitlin Kindred
But everyone at some point has this experience of going to meet the teacher during the school year. So we just wanted to make sure we take care of everyone in this. So we are going to start with our teachers here just to maybe give parents a little bit of insight into all the preparation that actually goes into just meet the teacher day alone. Not anything else, but just meet the teacher day. Jenny, being the teacher, I feel like you need to start.
00:20:35 - Jenny GK
Okay, so there's some things that are pretty universal, and it doesn't matter what age you teach, right? There's some handouts that you want to have. And I am a big fan of creating a QR code where all of these things are scannable. You can print out the QR code and pass it out. You can pass out the handouts and also have the QR code on there so they can have an electronic version. You can just have the QR code posted in your room, and they can pick up the handouts that way.
00:21:02 - Caitlin Kindred
But here are some things like to post it on the door number.
00:21:05 - Jenny GK
There you go.
00:21:06 - Caitlin Kindred
There it is. While they're waiting to come inside, if the door is crowded, you just say so.
00:21:12 - Jenny GK
You take the time to create an actual meet the teacher sheet, something that kind of creates you as an approachable human from day one.
00:21:22 - Caitlin Kindred
00:21:23 - Jenny GK
Say your interests. Tell them that your favorite snack is Rice Krispy Treats and that you love to have midnight glow stick dance parties or whatever it is that you want to share about yourself. You can keep it at arm's length. You can say that you have a dog, but you don't have to give away the name or you don't have to say anything about your family. You could say some Hobies that you like to do. It doesn't matter. Just personalize yourself a little bit.
00:21:48 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah. I also like to add in things like my education level. I've been teaching for 13 years. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree. It seems a little bit petty, but I just want people to know that I'm established in what I've been doing. I know what I'm doing. There's background here, and yet it still paints me as this person who's approachable and things like that. Things you like to eat, things you like to do. If you are a school that gets presents, put down things that you want for presents and you'll meet the teacher for right.
00:22:26 - Jenny GK
And there's ways to do that are classy.
00:22:29 - Caitlin Kindred
00:22:30 - Jenny GK
If you need help with language, tweet at us, we're happy to help you.
00:22:33 - Caitlin Kindred
00:22:34 - Jenny GK
Okay. So the other thing is your job is teacher.
00:22:43 - Caitlin Kindred
00:22:45 - Jenny GK
That is something that we're really struggling with, especially since 2020. It is a job, and let me tell you, I don't know what else I would do. I mean, maybe I could be a good flight attendant, but I don't have a great memory, so I'd have to write down everyone's drink order. But besides that, I am meant to be a teacher, but I am not meant to be a teacher at 630 in the p. M. In the a. M. Either or really in the a. M. So one of the things that I put on these handouts is the best ways to contact me and my response times. So I'll say I'll respond to all emails within 24 hours, unless of course it's outside my working day. I'm not going to email you back on Saturday at three because you emailed me Friday at three and that's reasonable.
00:23:41 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, forget any sort of reach out after Friday at noon. Not happening.
00:23:46 - Jenny GK
So if you like, you can put some explanation in there when you're talking about who you are as a person. And you can say things like, I have two children, I really enjoy spending evenings with them. So I don't answer emails after 05:00 p.m.. Or you don't have to explain yourself.
00:24:06 - Caitlin Kindred
Right. You don't owe anybody that.
00:24:08 - Jenny GK
Don't feel like you have to.
00:24:09 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, I always said I don't give homework on the weekends to my kids because I don't think it's fair. So I don't expect you to give me homework over the weekends either.
00:24:19 - Jenny GK
00:24:20 - Caitlin Kindred
Or I would say it as no one should be doing schoolwork over the weekends and that includes me. And my parents were like, Yay, thank you. No weekend homework. And I was like, okay, but understand me, that means me too, right? I'm not going to answer your email, right? So having that either on your contact sheet or on the QR code where all the information pops up as availability times, as an extra note, that's totally acceptable to do. Definitely encourage you to have that information ready on Meet the Teacher day so that you're setting that expectation right off the bat.
00:24:53 - Jenny GK
You want to talk to your team and you want to make sure that this is in line with your school's policies. But for me, I did not put my conference or prep period time on my contact sheets or on anything that went home.
00:25:10 - Caitlin Kindred
00:25:11 - Jenny GK
Because that is not my office hours.
00:25:14 - Caitlin Kindred
00:25:15 - Jenny GK
It's not that I'm going to be sitting there waiting for visitors that's part of my day. So I would write that I'm available by appointment only. I like that it only works if, one, your whole team is kind of sticking to that, and two, that's allowed on your campus.
00:25:35 - Caitlin Kindred
00:25:36 - Jenny GK
And I've been really fortunate that a lot of my leaders that I've worked for have encouraged that kind of behavior and saying, no, parents don't need to know when you're off. You can make an appointment for a time that works for you and for them. You don't have to publicize that at Thursdays at 09:00 A.m., you don't have a class. They don't need to know that. Okay. Some things that you can have families do when they come in. I love to have the grown ups write their kid a note, and it can either be something that you're going to pass out on the first day, or it can be kind of a time capsule and say, hey, we're going to pass this out right before finals. Or it can be something that you just tell the families, look, I'm going to hold on to this until I see that your kid needs a boost and I'm going to drop it on their desk. So write something encouraging that your child can read about them later.
00:26:31 - Caitlin Kindred
I've seen this done in also very cute ways for right before state testing, right? Where you have parents write something that's like a note of encouragement of how special they are, and then you give it to them right before a state test, and they feel so cool, really good about it. That's a cute way to do it. You can also add in like a tell me about your kid sort of thing. It doesn't have to be a letter to the kid, although that's a very sweet idea and I love it, and it could even just be like a sticky note to the kid, right? But in addition to some sort of tell me about your kid activity will get parents on your side from day one because it shows that you are taking the time to learn who their child is as a human rather than just History 101 student.
00:27:14 - Jenny GK
Right now, depending on how old the kids are that you teach, you might want to have some basic classroom expectations, how you do birthday parties, et cetera, et cetera, available at a time where families are ready to read.
00:27:32 - Caitlin Kindred
00:27:33 - Jenny GK
They're going to collect all of these documents, and maybe they'll look at them when they get home. But I know for sure that first week of school when they're getting all of those things that need signatures, they're not getting read.
00:27:46 - Caitlin Kindred
No, they're not. It's too many papers. So I encourage meet the teachers typically way before school starts, or at least like the weekend before. I would encourage you to have anything like that that you want read ready, available to give them ahead of time. I just highly encourage that.
00:28:03 - Jenny GK
Okay, so that's things to do for parents, some things that you can have for kids. Have them do a classroom tour, like a scavenger hunt or a checklist of things to find in the room. Maybe you can have different questions or activities for them to do. At my school, we do research on teaching and learning, and we recently did one that was how many marbles are in the jar? And the kids were allowed to use anything they wanted. There were no restrictions except the adults in the room couldn't help at all.
00:28:42 - Caitlin Kindred
Oh, wow. I like it.
00:28:44 - Jenny GK
So they wanted to use a scale and weigh one marble and then extrapolate from the weight of one. Great. But you got to find a scale. I'm not giving you one.
00:28:56 - Caitlin Kindred
00:28:56 - Jenny GK
So it was a really fun experiment, and we got to see the kids really break out and use them autonomy.
00:29:02 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, I like to put and, you know, I did this for warm ups all the time, and I used my meet the teacher time as a way to kind of introduce that. That's something that we're going to do in my class. So I would have, like a question of the day on the board. And they would be everything from a historical recap of what we talked about in class the day before or when I was teaching math. It could be a math problem that they had to solve and see if they got the answer. And they had to cover up their sticky note or whatever. And it could also just be completely randomly related. So one of them was like, tell me your best dad joke.
00:29:36 - Jenny GK
Oh, my gosh, I love it.
00:29:37 - Caitlin Kindred
Write their best dad joke and stick it on a sticky note and leave it on the board. And then they would just leave it there. And then on the first day of school, I had this big display that was already there built by the kids. Built by the kids. And the parents loved seeing that right off the bat. But you can do things like if you're a language arts teacher, my favorite book ever is and the kids just write down their title, their favorite book. They don't have to put their name on it. You're just getting a very quick snapshot of something about them. One fact I know about this time period in history, or this is my favorite trivia fact, or my favorite ice cream, is it doesn't have to be anything super detailed, but you can get these lists of questions all over the Internet. They're free. It's just super fun. And I love doing stuff like that.
00:30:24 - Jenny GK
It's so funny that you talked about the ice cream because when I taught science, that is one of the first ways I would introduce graphing is my favorite blank, favorite pizza topping, favorite ice cream, whatever it is. And every kiddo would write theirs on a sticky note, and we would start. To stack them to create bar graphs and then we can look at the top of the bar graph and start to create lines. We can count how many there are and use them to make a pie chart. So it was a fun way to collect data where the emphasis is not on the actual collection. We're not worried about measuring and tools, we're manipulating data. But it's still something that we collected in class. It's not just a random data set that I pulled from somewhere else.
00:31:11 - Caitlin Kindred
I used to use it for the topic of ice cream for which I would introduce writing like argumentative or evidence based claims. Evidence, reasoning, writing, where I would say like, what's the best flavor of ice cream? And the kids had to convince me which flavor ice cream was the best.
00:31:28 - Jenny GK
Oh my gosh, I love it.
00:31:29 - Caitlin Kindred
We would talk here together. That is beside the point. We are talking about meet the teacher activities. So that was just the sticky note thing on the board is just a really fun way to have something that the kids are building that shows that you care about who they are as people in the room on the first day.
00:31:45 - Jenny GK
If you are an older student, teacher, middle school or high school, you can work as families pop in and out.
00:31:54 - Caitlin Kindred
00:31:55 - Jenny GK
It's hard to do when you're teaching elementary. I know, because you do have a parade and it's hard to be cranking something out. But with middle and high school, there might be time between visitors and feel free to work during that time. You don't have to stand at the ready the whole time.
00:32:16 - Caitlin Kindred
No. And if your desk is nearby, like near the door right. It makes it easier to do that. If not, I used to not work during that time because I found it hard unless it was something that I could do while standing up right to.
00:32:31 - Jenny GK
That things in the room. I was just going to say don't feel like you need to have your room finished. That's something you can be working on. You can be hanging, you can be building a bulletin board. All of those things keep you active. For me, they fill my hand so I don't feel socially awkward. Like what do I do? Oh, I'm holding these things and I'm working on this. But it also is something that doesn't require a lot of concentration on your part and you can break from it pretty easily and come back to it. Now for some reason, and I am a parent, I know that there's like this thing inside you that just comes alive when you have children. For some reason, parents love to flip through the curriculum materials that you are going to be using.
00:33:21 - Caitlin Kindred
Oh my gosh, it's so weird. It's weird.
00:33:24 - Jenny GK
It's weird. Like I am teaching algebra and they're like, oh, is this the textbook?
00:33:28 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes. I remember this from when I was 13. Do you know, great.
00:33:33 - Jenny GK
Okay, good. That means that you had a great teacher. I'm really happy. So have the books or whatever you're using out of sight, but don't feel like you need to talk them through the textbook.
00:33:49 - Caitlin Kindred
No. Don't even keep it out. Put it away. Don't have it out at all. Keep it on the shelf and make that shelf look beautiful so that they don't want to touch the books that are on it because it's just not worth the conversations. You're not going to get through the whole textbook anyway. I can't think of a single teacher who ever gets through the entire textbook that they're supposed to. Don't even bother. You don't need to explain your method or the book's methodology for how they add fractions and how they did it when they were 14.
00:34:18 - Jenny GK
Don't and parents I know I'm jumping the gun here, but don't flip through the textbook. No, just don't. It's one thing if you're like, oh, we need to pick one up. That's part of Meet the Teacher is getting your books. Cool. You can look at it at that point. That's normal. But if you're not collecting textbooks, this is not the time to review the curriculum materials. The teacher, I guarantee it, does not have the opportunity to change between Meet the Teacher and the first day of school.
00:34:45 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, no, don't even bother.
00:34:47 - Jenny GK
00:34:47 - Caitlin Kindred
All right. More don'ts for teachers. Okay.
00:34:49 - Jenny GK
Don'ts for teachers. Do not neglect talking to the kids. Okay. Even if it's super weird and this twelve year old does not want to chitchat with you, make sure that you are attentive to their children.
00:35:04 - Caitlin Kindred
00:35:05 - Jenny GK
There are adults there who are meeting you maybe for the first time. They want to see you engage with their child.
00:35:11 - Caitlin Kindred
00:35:12 - Jenny GK
Do not engage in conversations that are personal, though. I know that a lot of families have special circumstances that they want teachers to know about before the first day of school. That totally makes sense. I have a daughter with a learning difference. I want her teachers to know who she is as a learner before she enters the classroom. That totally makes sense. But teachers, hear me now. Do not engage in this conversation in public and Meet the teacher as public. You never know who's listening. You never know who's around the corner. And you do know that it's a FERPA violation. So answer those questions by saying, thank you so much for bringing that up. But I do think we should save this conversation for a more confidential setting. Here's my contact information. Reach out and we can schedule a conference before the first day of school.
00:36:02 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah. And that's a great opportunity to shove that QR code in their face and stop them. I also have to say this, because it does happen, especially with teachers who are either established in their school or longtime teachers. And I distinguish between the two for a reason. Right. Because you can be a 25 year teacher and move schools, and you'll behave differently than you would if you hadn't moved schools. So I'm saying this now. Do not have personal conversations between you and your teacher friends at that time either. Put your phone away. It's so stupid that I even have to say it, but just don't have your phone out and don't be texting and all that. It just doesn't look great. Even if you are sitting at your desk waiting for families to come in for meet the teacher and there's been a lull, just don't pick up your phone because when it gets quiet and that last parent shows up and you've been on your phone, it still doesn't look good because you're on your phone during meet the teacher time. That window, just put it away or whatever and don't have those like, well, this is what happened at my house last night. Conversations with your teacher friends during that time. Save it for right after the last family's out the door.
00:37:17 - Jenny GK
00:37:19 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay, I'm going to talk about this from the parent perspective.
00:37:23 - Jenny GK
Love it. Go.
00:37:26 - Caitlin Kindred
That's very pressurey. Do it right now. Okay, so here are some dues for parents, and I'm going to take this advice to myself right now. Do take a deep breath. Okay. This is a very high anxiety time for everyone. Your kid is going in and meeting their brand new teacher, the teacher that's new to them. You are meeting this teacher most likely for the first time. You are watching your kid engage with a brand new teacher, and you don't know what that relationship is going to be like for the next year. And I have to say this, the teacher is also probably really nervous, right? A lot of us, especially over the summer, I don't know about you, but I get like first day jitters and meet the Teacher jitters because it's just new. But then once the kids show up, it feels very natural again, right? But it does give me a little.
00:38:14 - Jenny GK
It'S a little out of practice. Like, wait, I haven't done this in eight weeks. Okay, let me stretch these teacher muscles, right?
00:38:21 - Caitlin Kindred
Exactly. I've been swearing at my house. I need to practice code switching, and I haven't. Okay, so everyone's nervous, right? So just take a deep breath and remember that it will be okay. You have nine months to get this relationship right. It'll be all right. Don't worry about it. I'm going to skip this next one because it's an easy one. But I also want to say, if you have middle school and above children, meet the Teacher is not a time where your kid is going to be clingy.
00:38:56 - Jenny GK
00:38:57 - Caitlin Kindred
Your kid doesn't care about you in that moment. Your kid cares about my friends are here. What period do you have? History. Yes. You have it second. I also have it second. Thank goodness. Wait, where is this? Did this person show up who broke up. What?
00:39:15 - Jenny GK
Are you kidding me?
00:39:16 - Caitlin Kindred
This is time to catch.
00:39:18 - Jenny GK
You have second lunch. I have third.
00:39:20 - Caitlin Kindred
Oh, man. Yeah, maybe we can change it. Right? It's that it's not about parents at that point. It is about kids going from place to place. And they're probably going to ditch you. They know where everything is, so they're going to get their schedule and they're going to just be running all over the building and you're like, come with me to meet. And they don't care. They just don't care. So if you're a parent, anticipate that your kid who is in elementary grades, especially the earlier grades, is going to be clingy as they get older, they're going to run away from you and you need to be okay with that.
00:39:54 - Jenny GK
And maybe happy about it. Look, my kid loves this place so much that they are meeting up with their friends and they are excited to be back.
00:40:03 - Caitlin Kindred
Exactly. All they care about is their schedule and their friend's schedules. They don't care anything about anything else. For you as you do, go into classrooms, pick out any handouts that are meant for you. Pick up everything. Like your teachers spent a lot of time putting those things together. Grab them. All right?
00:40:23 - Jenny GK
Then take a picture of it so it's in your phone, right? Because I always lose paperwork, but I'm not going to be rude enough not to pick it up. I will pick it up and take a picture of it so that when I leave it in the car, I still have an electronic copy.
00:40:35 - Caitlin Kindred
That's a good idea. Yeah. They have lots of your notes app on your phone. If you have an iPhone, it will scan documents for you. So just putting that out there. And then my other do for you is to follow up on requests from the teacher. Meaning if you said you would donate things, which is another fun for parents activity, you can ask for donations right then. And parents will often pick out whatever they can help you with. Follow up on that. Donate the things you said you would complete any necessary forms. If there's something that the teacher needs to know on day one, like, for example, how did your kid get home? Especially for elementary grades, that matters. So please make sure you take the time to fill out all that information. And this is the one I said I was going to come back to. If you have a newbie middle schooler, you need to take time to practice opening lockers. The amount of time that I spent as a 6th grade teacher opening lockers for kids and I also worked at a bank, so I was able to spin locks like no one's business, right? Not that I could hack them, but I spent a lot of time turning the dial on a locker so I could crank it open in like 10 seconds and the kids would be like, wait, what? How did you do that? I didn't see you do it. And I'm like, I don't have time to do this for you a fifth time where I show you how you turn it twice and stop and then turn it the other way. One, two, and stop and no, I'm not doing that again. Now I just need to crank it open for you. So you need to practice that on your own, whether that means you buy a lock at home and you practice at home because they're probably going to have to have their own lock for their gym locker anyway. Or it means that if your locker is assigned to you at meet the teacher, you go practice on that locker because they are going to need that help and they're going to be late to class every day for the first week or two if they don't have that practice.
00:42:27 - Jenny GK
That's exactly where I was going to go with this. It's not even just about whether or not the teachers have availability to help. This is just like younger kids learning how to open things in their lunchbox. Your child is losing time not being able to open their locker.
00:42:45 - Caitlin Kindred
And it's very stressful, especially for new middle schoolers who've never opened lockers before. They get really anxious about being late to class. They have arms full of stuff. The 6th grader is walking around with.
00:42:57 - Jenny GK
Giant, oh, you know, it's a 6th grader because they have more luggage than I do. Emotional.
00:43:03 - Caitlin Kindred
Or when I'm going to visit my family for four days and I have two suitcases, right? It's insane what these guys are carrying around because they're so worried about missing something. These are the kids who travel with their entire pencil bag with every single pencil that you bought them. These are the 6th graders, right? Meanwhile, the 7th and 8th graders are like, can I get a pencil from somebody? Or they'll take one from a 6th grader. Just help them because otherwise they're going to be so anxious. It's a really anxiety producing experience to not practice the locker. Okay? Don'ts for parents, as Jenny mentioned, classrooms might not be done. Please don't expect a classroom to be perfectly decorated. And by the way, those beautiful instagram classrooms, your middle school teacher ain't got time for that, and neither does your high school teacher. And some of those teachers are on carts and don't have their own classroom. So don't expect a gorgeously, decorated, instagram worthy TikTok classroom. No, it won't happen, all right?
00:44:09 - Jenny GK
And if you have me as a teacher, it won't even happen in March, right? I have been called out multiple times for how uncute my classroom is. Not messy, not dirty, just not cute.
00:44:25 - Caitlin Kindred
I always tried and I'd be like, look at here's my whiteboard calendar with all the kids birthdays on it. And then it would be like October, and it would still say August on it, right? You can't keep up with stuff like that, so no. Also, again, as Jenny mentioned, please don't flip through the textbooks that you see the teachers are using it. They have no control over whether or not they have to use it. It's mandated by either at the district level, school board et, just it's just there. And I have to say this one, too. Does your teacher have control over the textbook? No. Does your teacher have control over your child's schedule? No. Do not ask the teacher why the schedule looks the way it is to move from second period history to third period history because their best friend is in third period, and they're really just really shy without their best friend nearby. And so they really just need to be in the same class as their best friend. No, we have no control over that. If you have an issue with that, talk to either the principal or your child's counselor and also give it two weeks before you demand a schedule change. Just going to put that out there, right. I always told the kids the same thing with seating charts. I'm going to put you in this seat for a week. If after one week you are concerned that you might go to jail for murder because you killed the person next to you, you just can't stand them. And I use that language. I use that language. I would say, are you going to go to jail for murder because you cannot stand this person anymore? Then you come talk to me after five full school days, but otherwise you're stuck in that seat unless I feel a need to change you. Same thing goes with schedules, right? If your kid is just dying after two full weeks of school and they need a schedule change, then request it. But the teacher doesn't have control over that, so don't email the teacher about it, and don't ask the teacher to change it at Meet the Teacher Day.
00:46:18 - Jenny GK
00:46:19 - Caitlin Kindred
00:46:21 - Jenny GK
It's just not helpful. No, at all. And it might be extremely emotional for your child, especially in middle school. Right. She might be really sad that she doesn't have any classes with her friend.
00:46:36 - Caitlin Kindred
00:46:38 - Jenny GK
And those are big feelings, and that is hard to process because I don't know about you, Caitlin, but it is hard for me to see my kids sad.
00:46:46 - Caitlin Kindred
Absolutely. And that's where that comes from, right? It's coming from a place of I don't want my kid to be also angry.
00:46:53 - Jenny GK
I can like, okay, sorry you're angry. Go process that. But sad or disappointed, that hurts me. And those conversations can be had. You can say, look, let's give it a try, and I'm not afraid to ask for you to have a schedule change if after a couple of weeks, it really is that miserable, right?
00:47:17 - Caitlin Kindred
At what point does your kids start to say, mom, stop kissing me. Public in the car. This middle school time is actually like it's before this, right? It's like fourth grade ish. So if you're also making a stink about it at Meet the Teacher, it's embarrassing. So there is a little bit of that, too, just to think about. I don't think that most kids want their parent, like, making a fit or a fuss or saying calling out in front of everyone. You know, Jamie's just really sad because he doesn't have any classes with and it's just not the right time to do any of that again. It's private. So just leave that for another time. You also do not need to bring all of the school supplies at Meet the Teacher. In fact, please don't.
00:48:05 - Jenny GK
And you might hear from school, please bring your supplies at Meet the Teacher. That's because the teachers are prepared for that and they know they're coming, right? And it might be something as simple as, like, here's your bin. This is where you put all your stuff. Or it might be glue goes here and markers go here, et cetera, et cetera. But if you are not specifically asked to bring your supplies, you are going to lug them home.
00:48:29 - Caitlin Kindred
The teacher is going to go, yeah, just put it in that corner. Or you can put it in their locker, right? Yeah. Practice your locker. This is a great time to go do that. And this one I'm personalizing.
00:48:44 - Jenny GK
Oh, my gosh, I'm dying. Because when I saw this in the notes, I knew exactly what you were talking about. Awkward.
00:48:53 - Caitlin Kindred
Now, I need to preface this by saying a lot of elementary school teachers will have some adorable way to document the first few days of school or Meet the Teacher. Sometimes they make these big polaroid picture frames that you right.
00:49:13 - Jenny GK
We're right. Like little photo booth kind of thing.
00:49:15 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes. Adorable. However, when you hit fourth grade, fifth grade, middle school, and above, please don't expect that your child is going to want to take a picture of this beautiful moment where their summer is ending. Definitely don't make it awkward. AF. And I'm putting that in here because I'm not swearing, but this is how it feels. Please do not make your kid take a picture with their brand new teacher.
00:49:52 - Jenny GK
00:49:53 - Caitlin Kindred
It's so weird.
00:49:55 - Jenny GK
It's so normal in elementary. It is so normal. And like you said, a lot of elementary teachers will build a little photo place, right?
00:50:04 - Caitlin Kindred
It's fine. That's fine, right? And there's nothing wrong with wanting to document, like, this is what my child looks like at Meet the Teacher, and this is what my child looks like at the end of the school year. I do that with my child right now. There's nothing wrong with that. There is something wrong with forcing especially your middle school student, a 14 year.
00:50:25 - Jenny GK
Old boy, to sit next to his.
00:50:26 - Caitlin Kindred
Math teacher, to his new history teacher. Wait for it. Then that picture got put on that class's notebook. And it was the front cover of the notebook for that class.
00:50:41 - Jenny GK
00:50:41 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes, it was. And bless this child. I love the child. I love the family. They are the nicest people. They are so kind. However, I did not want my face on that child's notebook for the rest of the school year. And when I saw the notebook we're talking shellac level paint, right? Or this is like it looked like someone, like mod podged it and then used packing tape to ensure that it wouldn't come off like it was lame.
00:51:11 - Jenny GK
00:51:12 - Caitlin Kindred
That is so good. Absolutely. Mortifying. It's one thing to take a picture of your kid, it's entirely another to force a 14 year old, 13 year old. Twelve year old boy to stand next to his teacher, who he just met, and take a picture. Please just don't. God, it's so weird.
00:51:33 - Jenny GK
00:51:33 - Caitlin Kindred
00:51:34 - Jenny GK
It's funny, but it's weird.
00:51:36 - Caitlin Kindred
It's so awkward. I'm shaking and I'm sweating thinking about this. I'm nervous just talking about it. It was horrible. Anyway, beautiful child. It happened twice. And they're both incoming 7th grade boys. I can't.
00:51:53 - Jenny GK
00:51:53 - Caitlin Kindred
It's so strange. Yeah. How mortifying. For the kid to be like, mom, please don't. Okay. What else? Did I miss? Anything? I think I got it.
00:52:03 - Jenny GK
Another variation of Meet the Teacher is if you are new to the school and maybe you're doing a tour or you're having some kind of personalized experience where it is not a public event. If you want any help on Navigating, that, whether it be from the teacher or parent perspective, reach out to us. We're happy to talk you through how unique that situation can be.
00:52:29 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah. And we can answer questions or even give you questions that you might want to consider asking. Definitely reach out. Send us a DM, or you can find firstname.lastname@example.org. There's a Contact us form, and we'd be happy to review it as an email. That's probably the easiest way to do.
00:52:45 - Jenny GK
You said the magic word of the day review.
00:52:48 - Caitlin Kindred
00:52:50 - Jenny GK
Write us one. Tell your friends. That's how we get more people to listen.
00:52:58 - Caitlin Kindred
So I have to say this. I checked our Apple itunes rating or our Apple podcast rating. Not itunes. Good Lord, I'm old. I checked our podcast rating. We have a 4.9 right now. I know. Oh, my gosh. We're super exciting. And we have over 100 reviews, which is so awesome. So to have a four nine at 100 plus reviews right now is very cool. Those 100 and something people are my favorites. Sorry, Jen. No, it's fine.
00:53:30 - Jenny GK
I'm one of them. I wrote a review about that.
00:53:32 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay, well, then you're on the list.
00:53:33 - Jenny GK
So I get to be on the list. Because I used to run student council, and I would have people ask me, can I vote for myself?
00:53:43 - Caitlin Kindred
Absolutely, you can.
00:53:44 - Jenny GK
And I would say to them, don't you want the job?
00:53:47 - Caitlin Kindred
00:53:48 - Jenny GK
If you don't think you're the best person for the job. Why are you running?
00:53:52 - Caitlin Kindred
00:53:52 - Jenny GK
You should definitely vote for yourself.
00:53:56 - Caitlin Kindred
That happens on an episode of Parks and Rec when she's running for city council and it's Bobby Newport that she's up against. When Paul Rudd is Bobby Newport, I don't think you can vote for yourself. And she's like, yes, whatever. Yes, you can.
00:54:10 - Jenny GK
You 100% must.
00:54:12 - Caitlin Kindred
00:54:13 - Jenny GK
If you aren't voting for you, why.
00:54:15 - Caitlin Kindred
Would anyone else will? Right, exactly. Maybe I should make sure I've left a review. Yeah. Can be one of my own favorite people too. Yay.
00:54:24 - Jenny GK
All right, well, I hope you guys have a fabulous day.
00:54:27 - Caitlin Kindred
Make good choices, and please, no awkward pictures with your kids new teacher. Please, I beg of you. Okay, bye.