First Impressions Last
The first day at any school is a day of first impressions. These can last throughout the school year at any level. For this reason, it is important to make a good first impression, and organization is the best way to prepare you to do that.
The first day at any school is the time to give students important information on the changes of their new level. This day is also a good opportunity to learn about individual student needs.
Students are often nervous on the first day of school. Their nervousness is even greater in post-primary than in prior levels. The nerves are a result of new classmates, subjects, and teachers. Students in post-primary schools also have to learn how to change classes throughout the day. This change is a source of stress for new students in post-primary schools. To make this change easier give students lots of help and support. Helping students work through these challenges will help to make a good first impression.
Important information to share with students and parents:
- School policies
- New schedules
- A list of the books, materials, and supplies they will need for the year
- A labeled map of the school
- A school calendar which indicates important dates
- Forms requiring parental consent.
- A folder or a pouch to hold all of the above materials
This folder will be a helpful tool for students and can provide them with a sense of security. These can be given to students as they arrive and used throughout the term. The size and organisation of these folders will change based on school level. No matter the level, it is important to make sure the organisation of these folders is not overwhelming. Try to make these folders attractive and easy to use. Different coloured paper and tabs can help to separate sections for easier use and better engagement. Also, consider placing all the documents needing signatures into a separate pouch to keep them from getting lost.
Most importantly this folder should include an information page. On this page include a photo and a short biography on each teacher. This page should also contain the teachers’ classroom rules and goals for the term. Including these rules will make for a more well-behaved class.
Providing some simple tasks for students to complete on the first day helps to ease first-day nerves. These tasks can be puzzles, essay prompts, or even map-making. Having students draw a map of the school helps them to orient themselves in a new environment. Having students work in groups also helps them to feel at ease with their new peers.
These simple tasks help to comfort the students in their ability to succeed in their new level. Their results in these tasks will provide you with this information as well.
Providing students with the emotional support and resources necessary for academic success is most important. Doing so is the best way to make a good first impression and to begin the term on the right foot. Enjoy!