Considering how many PD sessions for French teachers at my school board seem to have "networking" as a stated goal, you'd think Teacher business cards would have made their way into teachers' tote bags by now. 

How many times have you had a nice conversation - or even some productive discourse with another teacher who works for the same school district as you, but then you feel like you may never run into that teacher again?

No one wants to be the weirdo surreptitiously copying down someone's name off of their "Hi, I'm" sticker - or from the attendance sheet! (I may or may not have been this weirdo before!) But how else are you supposed to reach out later when you have a great collaboration opportunity, or when you want to find out how that special unit they talked about trying out went? 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Well, I've got a solution for you. Provide your contact information first. That makes things WAY less awkward. I've done this - often by asking if I can write down my email address for them so that I can share something with them later. This works best if I have something to offer to support with a problem they've mentioned. Then they can reach out - or not.

For this strategy to work, that depends on you having materials or tools that you (legally and ethically) CAN offer to share. And let's face it - Teaching is a tough, time-consuming job. Not every teacher can spend the time to make their materials from scratch, or chooses to do so. Admittedly, even I don't all of the time! 

So what if your school provides your resources, or (more likely) you've bought them yourself from various small publishers?

Have your contact information printed out and ready to hand over to someone. Yep, like a business card. Teachers are professionals, after all. We deserve one! But if that makes you uncomfortable, think of it as a Contact Card. Just say that you've enjoyed meeting the person and you'd love to stay in touch in the future. For this to really work, the educator that you met and would like to maintain a relationship with would ideally have one too. Be a trendsetter and get things started... they'll be ready next time! ;-)  

Let's be real - the school board isn't likely to start offering these to Teachers (even if they totally should). But you absolutely can quickly and easily make your own. I've done it several times before!


3 Places to Print your Contact Cards

  1. My no-nonsense go to has always been VistaPrint. You can get 50 cards for under $15 or 100 cards for under $20. There are set-up fees involved, hence the minimal price jump. 

  2. Staples has an option to create using Canva and then print via the office supply store many teachers know so well. They're also listed as starting under $20 Canadian.

  3. There's a print at home option too of course. Know how to use Canva but prefer to avoid spending your own money? As long as you have a printer and a bit of thick paper, you can get started with that. You're a teacher - you've probably got a couple sheets of white cardstock, right? Use the bypass tray on your home printer, if there is one. I've made the mistake of printing on cardstock via the paper feeder and it always misaligns the second pages and beyond.

    And if you don't know how to use Canva, don't worry. Here's a set of PowerPoint or Google Slide templates to try out instead, from SlidesGo! Microsoft Word even has options as well, if you're more comfortable with that software. 

Proofread the Cards Before Printing! 

I want to leave you with this essential tip. You know how you sometimes run off a class set of photocopies and THEN spot the typo? You don't want that to happen with your Contact Cards. 

Have someone carefully check the email address and other details you decide to include! Double check yourself that you've included the personal information you are confortable providing and that will work to help your colleagues that are physically elsewhere locate you for collaboration and virtual support online.

For Consultants, Instuctional Coaches & Coordinators

If you're providing PD to other teachers, provide index cards or preprinted slips of paper where teachers can jot down their info to share with others present. Normalize networking. No one should feel alone in this profession.