Making the Most of First Day of Class

First Day of Class

On the first day of a course you set the tone and atmosphere of how the course will be conducted. On the first day you let the students find out about you, the instructor, and their peers, and you begin establishing rapport with your class.

On the first day you go over expectations and give students a solid start on course content. And, on the first day you set things in motion for a successful term. This section will present ideas and suggestions for each item that helps you build a solid first set of classes.

Ten Guiding Principles

  1. Provide a well-thought out full first class
  2. Assist students in making a smooth transition from secondary school / holidays to learning
  3. Establish a sense of community and communication within the classroom
  4. Excite students about course content
  5. Aim for a positive first impression
  6. Encourage students in an active learning environment
  7. Engage students in immediate learning
  8. Introduce yourself and course effectively
  9. Obtain feedback from students
  10. Provide support to students in learning how to be successful

Preparation Prior to Class

  • Investigate classroom (data projector/audio/visual materials to ensure they work; most effective arrangement of desks/chairs, consider entire layout of room etc.)
  • Read through class names
  • Obtain a camera to take photos of students the first day to learn names
  • Create an agenda of what your first class will look like – ensure it isn’t just going over the syllabus and ending class early! Pack your agenda with a variety of activities
    that are similar to how you will be teaching the course (e.g., include discussions, engaging
    activity etc.)
  • Examine examples of active learning activities, talk to colleagues about ideas etc.
  • Be prepared – gather materials, arrive a bit earlier, be ready for a great first class!

During First Class

Instructor Introduction
Clarify any administrative details about course in case students are in the wrong class or thought they could attend class without being on class list etc.

Ensure you share some details about yourself so students can feel a bit more connected to you.

Learn more about: During First Class

The First Day of Class: A Once a Semester Opportunity

There’s only one first day of class. This article lists some ideas of how to take advantage of that precious first day!