Thursday, July 19, 2007

The First Day of School - How To Be an Effective Teacher

The first day of school is always exciting. It can be a bit frightening as well, both for the teacher and the student. Everyone wants to make a good first impression and it can only happen once. Here are some suggestions for that first day you may want to consider. For me this has been a wonderful way to start out the school year.

It is most important on this day that you be warm and friendly, yet establish early the fact that you are organized and in control. You are the teacher. One way to establish your leadership in a firm, yet friendly, way is to form a welcome line as the students enter the classroom.

Meet your students at the door, introduce yourself, ask their name and shake their hand. The first person then stands next to you. Meet the next person, shake their hand, and introduce them to the first person standing next to you. The second student then shakes hands with the first student and stands next in line. Each person, as he enters, is warmly greeted by the teacher and the introduce to the first student, who in turn introduces him to the next student, and so on, forming a line all around the outside of the classroom.

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When all of the students have entered the classroom and have shaken hands with all of the other students, the teacher then greets them again and has them sit in pre-assigned seats. Having students sit in alphabetical order makes it easier to learn their names quickly.

Some of the advantages of a “welcome line” and “seating chart” the first day are:

1. All students have met each other and the teacher.

2. It establishes order and puts the teacher in control.

3. You do not have students scrambling for the last seat and to sit by their friends,

thus “nipping” any potential discipline problem before it arises.

4. Students feel more secure when they see the teacher is organized.

You may also find it helpful in learning students names quickly with a “picture seating chart.” If you have access to a yearbook with student pictures, you can photocopy the pictures, put the name of the student on their picture, and place them in the seating arrangement you desire.

It is a good idea to then photocopy your new “picture seating chart.” Using the photocopied chart has the following advantages.

1. You do not lose the picture.

2. Pictures cannot be moved by an unauthorized student.

3. The original picture stays in good shape.

Hopefully these ideas will help you start the first day of school in a fun, well organized manner. For me, it worked smoothly every time.

Merlin Frei has been a religious educator for over 36 years and is now sharing "frei" information on his website. You can read other articles there and/or register for his newsletter.

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