What should I ask a Partner as we plan an activity?


Glad you asked! Here are some suggested questions to start your conversation. Remember, you are co-planning this interaction together. You can – and should – voice your own ideas and expectations to make sure that the volunteer understands how to make your visit most worthwhile. A community partner probably won’t know education acronyms and may not have been in a school since they attended one. Anything you can do to help your partner know what to expect in your classroom will help.


  • How have you interacted with children or youth in the past? What ages were they?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns about working with the students in my class?


  • What are your goals? Why are you interested in this activity? My goals for our experience working together are….
  • What do you want my students to learn and experience?


  • Do you have some initial ideas about how you might share your expertise or experiences?
  • How can you help the students interact with your topic? Were you thinking of a talk, interactive exercise, field trip, small group work, etc.?

Student Preparation

  • What preparation would you like me to have the students do before your visit? I can encourage them to read something, watch a YouTube video, prepare questions for you, etc.


  • When would be the best time to schedule a visit to your class? Offering your typical schedule can be helpful, such as “This class meets every day during third period, which is from 10:30-11:25 a.m. I have allotted three weeks in October for this subject.” 


  • How best can I support your experience in my classroom?
  • What do you need in terms of classroom set-up and support?
  • Do you need internet access?
  • Do you need any specific equipment (e.g. projector, whiteboard, speakers etc…)?
  • Will you have handouts that need to be printed?
  • Other needs?


  • My school’s policies regarding visitors are….
  • You can park at….and check-in and get a badge at….
  • You will be able to get to my class by……
  • Would you like a picture of my classroom to help you visualize the setup?
  • Do you need desks or chairs in any certain configuration?
  • Would you like the students to wear name tags?
  • What other information or preparation will help you feel ready for a visit?

Teacher Role

  • What support will you offer during the visit? “I will introduce you and be engaged throughout, will actively support you and guide the conversation as needed.”
  • How will you assist with disciplinary action that is needed? “I will keep my students on task as best as I can and address any disciplinary issues.”
  • What happens if you have to cancel? “I will reschedule our visit if I have a substitute teacher that day or, if you agree and feel comfortable after your first visit, we can move forward as planned with the substitute supporting you.”
  • What can I do to help you feel confident about your visit?



Many visitors may be nervous and may have never spoken to a group of students, so be sure to welcome them and make them feel comfortable when they arrive.

Prepare Students

  • Give students enough background information about the topic so they can actively engage with the visitor.
  • Consider having students prepare questions beforehand.
  • Students could potentially research the visitor online if the visitor is a public figure.

Gather Resources
Double check to make sure whatever technology or other needs requested by the visitor are available and working.

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