Summer of 2019. My second year of teaching in South Korea quickly came to an end and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Seattle ready to continue my career at Impact Public Schools (IPS). During our summer training, I was told every teacher would visit new scholars’ homes, with the family’s permission, to meet them and their families for the first time. Even after two years of teaching, the idea of meeting new families made me feel both nervous and excited. I believe first impressions can say a lot, so I always try my best to be personable yet professional. After finding out about the home visits, I remember calling my dad to tell him all about it. Both of us have never heard of teachers doing something like this before, so mixed emotions came shuffling in. Regardless of how I felt, I went into each home visit with trust and an open mind. In the end, I was blown away by the experiences and connections I made with families and scholars.
Before my first home visit, I prepared as much as I could, but I honestly had no idea what to expect. Luckily, my teaching partner, who happens to be a founding teacher at IPS, sat with me to provide guidance. After a few minutes, my nerves quickly dissipated. We were able to answer initial questions and concerns the family had, discuss what a typical day in kindergarten would look like, and, most importantly, get to know one another. With each home visit I became more comfortable as I developed added confidence. All of my families welcomed me into their homes with open arms and made me feel like we had known each other for years. After all of my home visits were completed, I felt reassured that this would be one of the most critical connections I would make with families because it set a tone for the rest of the school year.
Fast-forward to today. It is easy for me to look back and list all of the benefits of conducting home visits. Since this is the first time some families are sending their child to school, it is my job to make the transition as smooth as possible. Based on my first year at IPS, it is evident that home visits not only build stronger and closer relationships between teachers, scholars, and their families, but create the opportunity for everyone to feel at ease before the upcoming school year begins. I am thankful home visits are incorporated in our teaching practice as I truly believe they are one of the many factors that show how Impact goes above and beyond.