Happy New Year!
Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year is upon us, ushering out the old and bringing in a new semester full of both challenges and opportunities.
In short, now is the perfect time to brush up on introductions and prepare for starting new classes with these tips!
From Elements of College Teaching, by David K. Irving, comes this tip about the first day of class:
Set the tone
Creating an atmosphere conducive to learning is the teacher’s responsibility. How you conduct your first class speaks volumes about the nature of the course. Here are some questions you should ask yourself beforehand:
- Will I start on time?
- When will I administer a brief background questionnaire?
- How should I react to latecomers?
- Am I interested in setting a casual or formal tone?
- How do I want students to address me?
- What will I wear?
From 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Professors by Robert Magnan:
9. Start class by telling your students where you’re going.
Give them a preview, a sort of map. Some teachers like to write the main points of their outline on the board, off to the side. Sometimes, especially when we feel really organized, we forget our students cannot sense this organization. A preview may not be necessary if you give your students a detailed syllabus and you follow it scrupulously. But remember: the best leaders are not always those with the best plans, bot those who best communicate their plans.
And finally, a tip from 147 Practical Tips for Using Icebreakers with College Students, also by Robert Magnan, explores tone and practicality in icebreakers:
3. Balance fun and function.
Depending on your students, the subject, and the level of anxiety you expect, the icebreakers that you use might be heavily functional or more on the fun side. Keep that balance in mind as you read this book.