That Morning Coffee

and a red airplane

First Day’s To-Remember List

Leaving a good first impression is pretty much the only thing that both the teacher and the students think about before entering the classroom. It is after all what sets the tone and determines how well they will do in the coming days of the course. Here are some ways that can guarantee a friendly encounter, a good impression, and promise a smooth and relaxed environment to teach in.

First thing to remember is to never be late. Come ten or twenty minutes early (personally, I come one hour before the class starts). Find out which classroom you’re going to teach in and try to be there before your students arrive. Prepare yourself to meet them. I, for instance, see if the board needs any cleaning, put the chairs in order if they aren’t, and write on the board my name and a welcoming phrase like “Welcome to Level 2A”.

Second thing to remember—and this one is probably the most important of them all—is to always have a friendly—non-freaky :P—smile. Welcoming students gracefully and with a smile can ease things up and win them over instantly. It also creates a pleasant and sociable atmosphere.

Third thing, your ‘introduction speech’. If you’re the kind of person who forgets things easily (like me :P), perhaps rehearsing your introduction speech before entering the classroom wouldn’t be a bad idea. In your introduction you should be concise in details about yourself and precise in your methods and expectations. Example:

“Hello, my name is Kevin D. Welfing. I’ve been teaching English for over three years now and I’ve also been working as a counselor at Elizabeth Arch’s ESL camp for the past three summers. I was a peer tutor in Italian and I occasionally give drawing lessons.

Because I will be trying some new approaches, I will rely on your feedback to let me know how they are working. I want you to feel comfortable letting me know that “today’s class was really fun” or “that group project was a waste of time.” Preferably, you would let me know these things by writing a note or talking to me before or after class. Your comments can help guide our classroom activities.

I promise to put forth my best effort so that we can all get something out of this, and in return, I expect that you will all show me an honest effort and that you will each try to do your best work. Does anyone have a question?”

If you find it necessary, break ice by cracking a joke or by telling a personal funny story about yourself. Again, try to be concise and don’t take up all the time talking about your adventures and stories. Next, have the students introduce themselves. All in all, it should take about twenty minutes.

Last thing to remember is that if you are the kind of person that has a lot of rules and regulations and extra quizzes and what not, try not to lay it all on them at once. Begin by giving them the most important rules to follow in your classroom, i.e.: “Only English is allowed in the class” or “Cell phones should be switched off or put on Silent during the class time.” Later on, or the next day, you can give them a program including all the rules to be followed in your classroom, the grading system, etc. The following link will show you an example of a program I prepare for my students. [Click here]

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2 Comments»

  M.Bahashwan wrote @

remarkable….thanks
one question

leaving a good first impression is more of a prospect than a theory could constantly be applied in the classroom ..
I, myself, formulated my on ways in getting a satisfactory outcome from the students’ feedbacks..
and my ways were based merely on nothing but a personal experience gained throughout the few years I spent as teacher.
so, is the entire article based on the TEFL or is there a personal experience involved?

  That Morning Coffee wrote @

Bahashwan,
Thank you for your support and taking the time to read the article.
In answer to your question, the article is based on textbook methods mixed with personal experience.


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