The first day is always a big one! Making a first impression is always important for both pupils and teachers
The first day back in the classroom is a big day. It lets students know what to expect for the next year, it allows teachers to understand pupils better, and it sets the ever-important first impression. We've got some tips to help you create a great first day for both you and your pupils.
A suitable environment largely depends on what your teaching style is like, and what your pupils may react positively to. Regardless of these factors, a welcoming and comforting work environment is important to maximize learning and develop rapport between you and your new class. Putting some music on while your pupils arrive is one way to do this, allowing students to pick their own seats on the first day is also a nice way to help pupils feel comfortable (but this depends on your teaching style). If you have a seating plan in mind, leaving hand-written notes with your pupils' names can immediately create a meaningful connection with their new space.
Getting to know each other
Starting off with some fun games is an easy way to release the tension and anxiety both you and your pupils may be experiencing! Although your pupils may already know each other, they don't know you, so it's important to play an active part in these games alongside your pupils, here are some of our favourites:
- Rhythm name game: Get into a circle and start with a slow and simple beat. Everyone slaps their thighs twice then claps their hands twice and back to the thighs, this continues with everyone is in unison. When you are ready, you say your name plus a word with the same first letter in time with the clapping beat e,g, "Luke lion". Fit this into the beat and point at a person in your circle, they must then repeat your name and add their own in time, e.g. "Luke Lion, Morgan Monkey", then they point at another person who then starts with "Morgan Monkey" and adds their own. This goes on and the speed gradually increases until someone trips up and they are out.
- Name splat! One person stands in the middle of a closed circle, they turn and randomly point at one pupil in the circle and shout "splat". This pupil must duck quickly while the two other pupils on either side turn to each other with their fingers pointed and shout their opponents name, the quickest wins and the slowest is out. This continues until only two people are left.
- Favourite things: A twist on the famous "I'm packing my suitcase". Each student must list something they like, the person next to them lists everyone's previous favourite things and adds their own until the list grows and grows. This is a great way to learn your pupils' personalities and find out about their interests.
The personal touch
You're in this for the long haul! You and your pupils will be sharing your space for the next year so it's important you and your pupils feel comfortable there. Making the shared space feel homely is important and will help your pupils feel at ease. You could start the day with a group activity designing a display board to represent your class, you could all make posters to go on the walls, or let pupils customise their own spaces such as book trays or coat hooks. Creating a group incentive/reward system also encourages teamwork and gets them excited to work together towards something positive alongside their new teacher.
Wherever you are and whenever your first class will be everyone at Young Writers wishes you the best year and a fabulous time with your new class!