Teachers in many countries across the world go back to school this week and next week. For all of our teachers at home and overseas, good luck in the new school year, and remember these tips to start the year off right!
Introduce yourself – Every teacher has a different level of comfort with how familiar they are willing to be with their students, and it’s up to you to decide how much personal information you choose to share with your class. However, letting your students know a little about yourself – your interests and hobbies, what you did with your summer, your pets – can set a welcoming atmosphere and ease first-day jitters for students. Other slightly more unconventional facts about yourself might include your least favorite food, a bad habit you have, or the most interesting place you’ve ever visited.
Get to know your students – Have your students share the above information with you! Icebreaker questions get students smiling and help you learn more about their personalities. For a challenge, ask students to share something unique about themselves that they think is true for only them and no one else in the class. You’ll learn which student raises pet tarantulas, which one has twelve brothers and sisters, and which one has a fear of butterflies.
Learn names as quickly as possible – Some teachers are better than others when it comes to memorization. During the first few days, use a labeled seating chart and say students’ names out loud every time you speak to them in order to commit them to memory. This is crucial to establishing classroom order.
Reinforce your goals – Before your students arrive on the first day of school, remind yourself of your short-term and long-term goals for the school year. Repeat throughout the day, and every day of your first week, in order to maintain the right perspective and outlook for the year.
Remember to breathe – The first day of school is hectic for everyone. As a teacher, you might be feeling even more stress than your students. Not only is it your responsibility to ease your students into the new year, but you have the added burden of needing to do so while also setting the tone of your classroom and establishing authority. Not an easy task! Whether you’re teaching kindergarten or high school, don’t let first-day nerves overwhelm you. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that things will have settled down tomorrow.
Have your own tips? Share your ideas with us below! We’d love to hear your first-day-of-school classroom activities.