The first day of class is your time to shine! Whether you are teaching for the very first time or are a seasoned veteran, prepare carefully for the initial class. Your preparation and attitude are contagious: students will pick up on your excitement, be more likely to commit to your class and invest greater energy to their learning.
What you do and how you do it on the first day of class matters. When your students come to the first class, they are eager to know what will be taught in the course, what you will be like as an instructor, what will be required of them, how you will evaluate their work and whether they are likely to feel welcome in your class. The first day of class should serve two purposes: 1. To clarify questions students might have related to the overall course and course objectives, as well as your expectations for their performance in class. Students should leave the first meeting with a strong belief in your competence to teach the course and truly understand what is required of them in your course. 2. To give you an understanding of who is taking your course and what their expectations are of you as the instructor.
Check out these six strategies to prepare yourself and your students for the first day of class.
The following is a list of resources that may help you create an engaging, motivating and organized first day of class:
End your class on time! UBC is a large campus—it may take your students 15 minutes to walk between classes.
Gail Hammond, PhD, RD
Instructor, Food, Nutrition and Health, Department of Land and Food Systems
When getting ready to start a new class, my mind always goes to the students: who are they? What life experiences do they bring to class? Why are they taking the course? What piques their interest about nutrition? How do they like to learn? Will they value self-regulated learning activities as much as I do? The questions go on and on, but all this to say expect the unexpected! There is great diversity to manage within each class as the students turn to you to guide them on their journey of learning. So, put your hand on the rudder and get ready to sail!
When opening the classroom door, I am excited to meet the students—the lifeblood of the course. Once inside the classroom, I like to engage them in an activity so they can know a little bit about their neighbours, the TAs and me. Fostering an open and inclusive environment on day one of the term—a simple technique is to ask questions that tie course concepts into their personal lives—sets the tone for the remainder of the course. Enjoy the sail!