10 Tips for the First Day of Class

The first day of school is not only nerve wracking for students. It can be quite overwhelming for new teachers as well, ridden with anxiety and excitement. Here are 10 tips that will aid any teacher in having a great first day and leave a lasting impression on her students.

1. Create A Mental Checklist: Well before the big day, spend some time thinking about all the goals you want to accomplish in class. This gives you a feeling of confidence and ensures that the course is off to a good start. Students will also have a good impression of a teacher who seems to know where she is headed.

2. Arrive Early: Always come to class 10 minutes before it starts. This will give you a chance to interact informally with the students who are already present. You will also get the time you need to arrange your paraphernalia. Arranging your things during the class may give the students the impression that you are not organized.

3. Introductions: Begin the class by introducing yourself. Write your name on the blackboard. You can also give a little background information about why you are teaching the subject. Also, ask each student to introduce himself/herself as well. The students will appreciate such an interaction and come to depend on you more. 

4. Know the course content: Much before your students, you will need to have done your own homework on the course. This will help you clarify any questions a student might have. You can also search for extra readings that will help the students as well as engage them.

5. Your expectations: State clearly, your expectations from both the curriculum and the students. For example, if students are awarded marks based on their class participation, let them know. It helps if you explain why participation in class is important.

6. Engage the students: in addition to the conventional lecture method, it’s important that you keep students’ interested and involved in the course through interactive learning methods like debates, quizzing, etc. Students get easily distracted and it’s up to you to sustain their attention. 

7. Be approachable: This is important – The teacher must show the students that she will always be ready to help any student who might be lagging behind in class. 

8. Get together with coworkers: You should maintain a cordial relationship with coworkers. This will help you whenever you approach them with any questions or concerns. They may also share useful teaching methods and tips on how to deal with troublesome students.

9. Craft an in depth lesson plan: There’s no such thing as over-planning your teaching schedule.  If you always have a proper lesson plan in place, the class will have a continuous flow. The plan should have detailed instructions on what to teach in each period as well as instructions to oneself on how to get through each chapter. For example, you can add extra material beyond the course to your lesson plan, just to give your students a better understanding of the course itself. A teacher who doesn't have a plan will come across as disorganized to her students.

10. Rely on your wits: Lastly, a teacher nowadays encompasses the roles of educator and counselor – a tall order, indeed! For this, you must have sharp instincts and keep your ear to the ground from day one. You must be able, for instance, to gauge over a period of time, which students are facing problems with the course or are having a hard time making friends. 

Your first day at school is likely to be a jumble of experiences, so take them as they come. The initial impressions you leave on students are important. If you are well organized with your work and come across as warm, encouraging and firm, you’re off to a great start!