Who can forget their first day of school? Students come into the classroom wondering who their teacher will be for the year. Teachers are faced with new students sitting in desks. Introducing yourself to those students is a big part of that first day. That initial teacher-student impression is important in setting the tone for the year. Many students are full of nervous energy the first day of school and want to know what their teachers are going to be like for the year. Part of a teacher's job is to support students, reassure them and tap into their potential. Taking the time to introduce yourself is key to setting up a relationship with your students built on mutual trust.
Dress professionally and make sure you follow any published dress codes applying to students and staff. While you want the students to enjoy their time in your class, you want them to respect you. Dressing in inappropriate clothing can also be distracting and disruptive in the classroom. Many schools have casual Fridays or spirit weeks where dress codes are relaxed. On the first day, putting your best appearance forward can set the tone for the year.
Make sure to introduce yourself by telling the class your first and last name and how they should address you. Do you want them to call you Miss or Mrs? Should they use your last name or first name with that title? If you have a long last name that’s difficult to pronounce, you can say “You can just call me Mrs. B.” While teachers might not write their name on chalkboards anymore, having your name displayed in the classroom or hallway can also help students remember in the initial weeks of school.
Personal Interests and Hobbies
Telling your class a little more about yourself help them identify with you as more than just a teacher. Students may be surprised you have interests after school. Explaining some of your hobbies and interests can give students the chance to interact with you on the first day. For example, you could say, “I enjoy riding horses whenever I have free time" or "I like reading science-fiction books at home." Following up an explantation of your own hobbies and interests with the same question for your students can further open up discussion on the first day. Offering these small personal details can make you seem more approachable and will open up to a connection with your students. For example, a student who also likes horses immediately sees something in you as a teacher that they identify with. A student who responds with their own different hobbies and interests may feel more free to do that after you share your own.
Explain Classroom Rules
Getting started on the first day by also explaining your class rules and what your class can expect of you is a good way to set guidelines. For example, you could say “I’m easy-going, but I do have some rules that everyone must abide by.” Keep those rules simple and easy-to-remember if you introduce yourself and the rules together. If you are teaching a class of older students, you might also include them in writing up classroom rules as well.
Be Courteous and Positive
While it may seem like common sense, speaking in respectful tones in your introduction is key. That initial tone as you welcome students is their first impression of you as a teacher and person. Continue to remain courteous and positive when speaking to students, administration, other teachers, staff and classroom visitors. While being polite to your students is important, maintaining the same respectful tone to anyone inside or out of your classroom is also imperative. It lets the students know you respect others and sets an example for them with their peers and classroom visitors.
Invite Questions and Responses
If you have time after your basic introduction, ask your new students if they'd like to know anything more about you. After you have answered their questions, ask the class what they have learned about you. For example, ask "What do I like to do in my free time?" By doing that, you're reiterating your introduction, which makes it easier for the students to remember you.