For teachers, there’s no day like the first day of the school year. Experienced and new alike are often both nervous and excited about the first day back.
With some planning and communication, you can make the first day of school the best it can be. A new beginning to a successful and rewarding school year. Here are some pointers:
- Greet every student warmly at your door and offer a handshake and ask for their name.
- Use a seating chart, at least for the first week or so. It will make it much easier for you to learn names, especially if you sort the seating alphabetically by first name.
- Discuss any classroom rules on the second day. Students know how to generally behave in a classroom, and incidents on the first day are rare, so the time is much better spent on building relationships and allowing students to settle in.
- Don’t be afraid to share something about yourself. Students are interested in the new person they will be spending nine months with, so prepare a short biographical talk. They may be particularly interested in whether you have children and pets.
- Post the daily schedule as prominently as possible. Even if students have previously attended the school, the summer break is a difficult transition. They often get confused about timings. Making a poster will save you a lot of questions and help to make learners feel more confident.
- Familiarize students with how your room is organized, especially if they are bringing supplies with them or need to store things overnight.
- Find a good ice-breaking activity, preferably one that avoids making students share things with the whole group on the first day.
- Expect the unexpected. First days rarely go according to plan. You may have to work around schedule changes and general confusion.
- Plan the second day. Teachers often spend so much effort making sure that the first day of school is perfect that they forget to lay out the expectations for the rest of the week.