5 Tips for Connecting with Students the First Week of School
Hi everyone! We can’t believe it, the new school year is almost here! There is a lot of pressure on teachers to go above and beyond during the first week but we believe that simple is always the way to go. Your attention should be focused on connecting with your students, not making everything picture perfect! Here are our 5 tips for the first week to connect with your class and build a stellar classroom community!
Who doesn’t love getting mail? Bring smiles to your future students and help squash any first day jitters by sending them a letter to introduce yourself and let them know what they can look forward to this school year. It is a great way to break the ice and calm any nerves your new students might be feeling. Make sure you include a picture of yourself so your students recognize you on the first day!
We all know the pressure teachers feel to get their students in the classroom and learning, but instead of teaching content from the start, focus on building rapport with your new students. There will be plenty of time in the year to hit those learning objectives but you’ll never get back this opportunity to build a classroom community. This is a great time to include activities that let the students get to know each other and you. Don’t forget to also include some fun team building games!
Part of building a classroom community is making every student feel valued. The best way to do that is to prioritize spending one-on-one time with each student during the first week. Even if you can only fit in 5 minutes with each student, it is a great time to get to know more about them and help them feel comfortable. We love doing something hands-on like this set of wooden blocks for younger learners or this puzzle game for older learners. Having an activity to do together makes it easier to get to know each other!
We know that breaks are sacred to teachers but if you can make it work, try to eat with your class during breakfast or lunch. You’d be surprised how students’ attitudes and personalities can change when you interact outside the classroom. You’ll get to see another side of your students and they’ll get to see you in a new environment!
The first day of school is such a special day for students but it can be really anxiety inducing, especially for students who are coming back from virtual or hybrid learning. To help make it special and distract them from their first day of school jitters, leave a little gift on each student’s desk. It gives them something to open and focus on when they first walk in and makes them feel special. An easy gift is a small snack, which also helps in case anyone has forgotten to bring one from home. We’ve designed those Back to School Goldfish Gift Tags to help make it easy for you.
The first week of school is such an exciting time and can be the key to a great year ahead. Remember, you don’t have to do anything extravagant or fancy! As long as your students feel welcome and excited to be back at school you’re doing great! If you have any other tips for the first week of school, comment below or email us at [email protected].
Have a great first week of school everyone!