Having guest speakers in your classroom can be as valuable as a field trip. There are dozens of people in the community who have specialized interests or knowledge that can interest your students.
Like a field trip, identifying someone as a potential guest speaker takes prior planning.
- Evaluate your choice of a guest speaker based on these questions:
- Who is the person?
- How did you hear about this person?
- What does this person have to offer your students?
- Does this person provide special materials, media or activities for your students?
- Is this person available? Is there a charge?
- What do you need to provide for their presentation?
- Once you’ve chosen a guest speaker you may have to help choose relevant material that your students will understand and like.
- Meet and talk with the guest beforehand. You don’t want to bring someone into your classroom who sees this as an opportunity to push for his/her own agenda.
- Before you issue the invitation or tell your students about this guest, make sure you have checked with district and school policy. Also talk with your mentor and colleagues.
- Work with your students beforehand so that they feel they really need to hear this guest speaker. Make sure the guest’s information is in keeping with the curriculum.
- Have your students put together a list of questions or topics for the guest speaker. Make sure to share that list ahead of time with your guest.
- Prepare name tags or some other kind of identification for your students so your guest can personalize his/her presentation and call on students by name. Also provide some sort of introduction and identification for the speaker.
- Lay the ground rules for what is acceptable behavior. Remind your students that they are the hosts and the speaker is a guest.
- Invite the press to cover the event for a story and pictures. You might want to videotape the presentation.
- Be sure to send a thank-you note to the speaker.