It’s important to make a connection with students at the beginning of a new term. Introduce yourself by either creating an announcement in Blackboard, send an email, or create a video prior to the first day of school. If you’re teaching a face-to-face course, consider showing up early and greeting each student individually. You can also try an icebreaker to help students get to know one another. Perhaps plan some engaging activities to help alleviate any first-day jitters and to create a positive learning environment.
A great way to get started is to clearly articulate your expectations, such as how you expect your students to communicate with you.
- What type of expectations do you have of your students?
- What type of expectations do your students have of you?
- How can you establish rapport with your students?
- How will you engage students in your course content?
A successful first class can set the stage for the rest of the semester. When preparing the class environment:
- Review your classroom set up. What is the physical structure of your classroom? What does this communicate to students? Can you move desks around?
- Ask for clarification on pronunciation to ensure you are correct. It will communicate to the students you are willing to learn and will go a long way to establishing trust.
- Use an activity to get to know your students. Providing students with an opportunity to respond to a set of questions anonymously may support them to communicate information they may feel uncomfortable to do in the large group or face-to-face.
- Indicate how students can reach and communicate with you.
- Become familiar with the college, School, and program policies on student conduct and review the program manual.
- Establish, as a group, guidelines for respectful and professional classroom conduct, which outlines what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior. Be consistent in your application.
- Have confidence and be as prepared as possible.
Below are a few resources that provide some ideas on how to approach your first day of classes. Additional resources can also be found on our Classroom Management page.
Making the most of your first day of class – Carnegie Mellon University
Ice Breakers for the College Classroom – Faculty Focus
First Day of Class Activity – Faculty Focus
Ice Breaker Activities – Lansing Community College
Faculty Introductory Video
Party Games to Energize Your Classroom – ThoughtCo
Paper Planes as an Ice Breaker – EduTopia