The First Class Session is the Most Important
Barbara Davis Gross, in the book Tools for Teaching, devotes a chapter to “The First Day of Class.” She presents 36 pieces of advice for starting the new term. Here are a few of them:
- If you have not taught at that location before, visit the classroom before the first session.
- Introduce yourself to your students.
- Use an icebreaker to help students get to know each other and create an atmosphere conducive to learning.
- Start learning and using students’ names.
- Review your syllabus.
- Clarify your expectations for important issues such as class participation and attendance.
- Explain what kind of effort your students must exert to be successful.
- Give students advice on how to study.
- Make the time worthwhile and use the entire class period.
- Give an assignment for the next class.
The tone you set the first day is important. You only have one chance to make a first impression!