First Day of School EssentialsAssociation of Educators
July 24, 2012 — 1,079 views
Whether you are a new teacher or a seasoned educator, there are a few first day of school tips that you should communicate with your students in an effort to reach your goals for the school year. According to Barbara Gross Davis, the author of Tools for Teaching, the first day of class sets the stage for the rest of the semester or year. It's important you are able to calm students' nerves and anxiety about it being the first day by creating a comfortable and open classroom environment, while simultaneously setting the standards of respect and concentration needed to meet your expectations.
Preparing for a successful first day of school starts before the students arrive. You should always visit the classroom prior to the first meeting so you will be aware of how to use equipment and be able to locate anything you might need. Furthermore, it is a good idea to practice talking in the classroom so you can hear how well your voice will carry and be ready to speak louder for students in the back to hear you. The same goes for your writing on the board, make sure you know how large you will have to write for all students to see.
Also, take some time to ensure the classroom is decorated to reflect an adequate learning environment. This of course will vary depending on the subject matter and level you are teaching, but the decor and setup should convey the overall theme of the course.
When students arrive on the first day, set the tone for the class right away. If you plan on staying strict to the syllabus throughout the year, be sure to begin the chapter one lesson on the first day like the syllabus says you will. On the other hand, if you want to have a class that fosters a sense of community and involvement, take this opportunity to host a get-to-know you activity or another hands-on lesson.
First impressions are everything and this holds true for the first day of school. This is your chance to establish rapport with your students and let them know you are there to make the most of their time. Don't be afraid to explicitly state your expectations, just do your best to set a positive tone and provide students a chance to ask questions.
Be prepared for some moments that don't go exactly as you planned and accept that it's okay for things to be a little awkward the first day. The more first days you teach, the more comfortable you will become with this aspect of your career as an educator.