New Teacher Tip: Be a Superstar Teacher from Day One
Facing new students is challenging for the experienced teacher, let alone the new one who is just beginning their teaching career. So feel confident about your newly embellished classroom, review the “first day at school” checklist, take a deep breath, and tell yourself that all will be well. Get ready to make a great impression on your new students. Here are some tips that can help you be a star teacher from the very first day and win all your students over.
1. Establish the ground rules—Once you have introduced yourself, communicate the basic rules for behavior, policies, interactions and permissions that will be used throughout the year. By being clear about your expectations, you provide students with boundaries for class behavior. You might want to discuss polices for attendance, homework, passes to leave the classroom and the use of electronic devices. Detail the consequences for not following rules and policies, but make sure that you do so in a positive manner. You can even plan a quiz or classroom activity on the dos and don’ts in the classroom, just to make sure everyone understands your expectations. You may still have to reiterate these rules for the first couple of weeks for them to sink in completely.
2. Practice what you preach—Irrespective of how clearly you have stated the rules, some students are likely to test the limits. Be sure to be consistent in what you say and the manner in which you act. Handling students who wish to challenge you may get extremely difficult, because if other students see that you do not practice what you preach and that the consequences are not as stringent as you made them out to be, they will do the test the limits also.
3. Get to know your students—While this is a process that you can start on the first day, it will take you much longer to build a personal relationship with your students. This is something that you can achieve over a period of time. At the same time, making an initial effort to get to know your students can define how comfortable students will be in your class. In today’s online world it might be a good idea to make an initial contact with students by sending an email welcoming them to the new school year and to your class. Create ice breaking activities on the first day with the goal of learning something about each student, as well as to have them learn something about each other. Information such as favorite online activity, favorite books, places that they have visited and extracurricular interests can be generated from ice breaking activities. Avoid being a spectator in this process. Make sure that you share information about yourself too, but refrain from getting too personal.
4. Dress and act appropriately—You should dress in a manner that inspires confidence. Being in class on time sets an example for students. Also, never play favorites and always speak positively about other students and your colleagues. It is also important that you are always professional, and never talk badly about another class, student or teacher to students.
Follow the guidelines above and you are sure to become a role model for your class in no time!