While we are busy printing, cutting, pasting, laminating and planning the first day of school, how many of us teachers take a minute to reflect upon what could essentially be the most important 5 minutes of the entire year… those first moments when your student sets his or her eyes on you.
As the children come into the classroom one after the other with their inquisitive minds, peering eyes and wary of their surroundings, I can safely say that at this point, most of us are politely standing on the side waiting for the kids to get seated or maybe guiding them to empty seats- helping them settle down so to speak.
As we watch the emptiness being filled in the classroom, we underestimate how each and every one of those little ones have already formed some sort of impression about their teacher.
Once we have an inkling on how those first few moments could shape your future relationship with your students, perhaps we could take a minute ourselves to make the most of the situation:
- Decent professional clothes.
- Nice smell but not overbearing.
- If you’re already tall then ditch the heels.
- Leave the Russian Red lippy at least for today. The children need to see the real you.
- Flash that million dollar smile.
- You need to look approachable, so bending slightly when addressing the children will give off that kind of a vibe.
- Move around a little.
- Be generous with positive facial expressions, even if you end up weird tics later.
- Don’t worry- true sincerity shines through.
- Check your tone and volume. You need both these things to be in sync with the size of your classroom.
- Warmly greet every child and when they are all comfortable, introduce yourself and add in some honest tidbits.
- Do not start on how strict you are with your rules and regulations, there will be time for that but this is not that time.
On the most part, children just want to feel safe and secure, most of their anxiety will dissipate once you remove the doubt in their tiny minds that you pose any kind of threat to them.
After that, it should be easy sailing.
So as you’re setting up the best classroom ever, planning great first day activities and getting your binder all neatly categorized, don’t forget about those most essential 5 minutes of all.