First Questions First

Get ready for your first day of teaching with these ideas on how to show your personality to your students. New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable when preparing for back to school.
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Updated: June 9, 2019
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Building a Community

Besides knowing who you are as a person, students also need to know that the place in which they will spend much of their time (the classroom) will be safe, inviting, and comfortable. They need to know about the classroom environment very early during the first day. They also need to know that they are important and valued members of that environment.

Teachers from all types of schools have shared these ideas:

Meet and greet every student at the door. This sets the tone for the day and establishes a positive atmosphere. I prefer to shake the hand of every student, ask them their name, and personally welcome them to the class.

If you know ahead of time that you'll have second-language learners (those whose native language is something other than English) in your classroom, try to learn a greeting or welcome in his or her native language. A simple Buenas dias, Carlos. ¿Como esta usted? can mean a lot to a new student.

Provide opportunities for students to get to know each other early in the day. Here are some tried-and-true suggestions, but feel free to modify these according to the grade or age levels of the students with whom you work:

  • Put some blank name tags in a box. Invite students to create a colorful name tag for someone sitting next to them.

  • Invite each student to create a personal “coat of arms.” Draw an outline of a crest and divide it into four sections. Duplicate it and distribute one to each student. Invite students to fill in each section with their name, a favorite activity or hobby, a favorite book, and a dream or wish. Invite students to talk about their crests with the entire class.

  • Invite students to assemble into various small groups. Invite each group to discuss and agree on one favorite for each of the following: a musical group, a vacation spot, a favorite movie, a favorite movie/TV star, the best fast-food place in town, etc.

Excerpted from

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher
Anthony D. Fredericks, Ed.D.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher © 2005 by Anthony D. Fredericks. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.
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