There’s some truth to the cliché “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”
Similarly, you only have one first day of school. And if your nerves are shaking just thinking about it, we get it—“firsts” can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve gathered some tips and strategies from educational experts across the globe to help you get past those first day jitters.
Your first step? Breathe.
It’s true that new teachers have a tremendous learning curve, but as with everything new, practice makes perfect. You don’t have to have it all together on your first day—or even your first week—but the following is some sage advice that may make the day go smoother.
- Have a plan. Chances are you won’t be launching into your first lesson and assigning two hours’ worth of homework. Instead, use class time to set the tone for the school year. Have your seating chart ready, and introduce your students to some of the organisational features you’ve created—i.e.: a class mailbox, supply corner, library, etc. Whatever you want students doing on a regular basis, have them do it on the first day. Involve your students early in decision making so they feel they are an important part of the class. Depending on the age group, at the end of the week discuss with the class how these organisational features are working. Listen, model respect, and acknowledge ideas even though you may not follow through on all.
- Engage students immediately. Icebreaker activities are a great way to get students “engaged” right off the start. Struggling to find some? This link has 10 great ideas. These kinds of activities can initiate a classroom discussion that involves all students—allowing you to identify the kids who are talkers, and those who may need some encouragement throughout the year.
- Reveal something about yourself. Set the classroom climate by demonstrating to students that you’re “human” too—share stories, a little known fact about yourself, or even some information about your educational background. How would you prefer students address you? That should be clear on Day 1.
- Establish rules. Do you intend for your classroom to be serious? Informal? Relaxed? Set the tone early, and be sure to include rules and expectations. What signals will be used for students to use the restroom? What are the consequences for late assignments? Now is also a great time to explore the expectations of your students. You may want to set some basic rules and expectations that are easy for all students to follow until you get to know your students a bit better. Try not to set expectations and rules that you will have to change right away.
- Smile. Laugh, even. First day jitters aside, you’ve made it! Congratulations.
Of course, this is only the beginning of your journey, and Teachers Media International is keen to help you every step of the way. If you’re planning to use technology in the classroom, you’ll find all kinds of tips in our Teaching with technology hub, and we have dozens of best-practice articles, videos and more for new and emerging teachers on the website, many of which have been collated in our Trainee teacher hub. Register today to access more than 3,500 inspirational resources!
Plus, for a limited time, refer a new teacher to our site and you could WIN an Amazon voucher. In the UK, click this link. For our North American audience, you can enter to win here. The contest ends Sept 30, 2016.
Have a great weekend!
~ The Teachers Media Team