Preparing for your first class, Jan. 2016

Fight First-Day Anxiety with a Plan

Are first-day jitters leaving you feeling anxious and under-prepared?  Have you been waking with a jolt at night after dreaming of being locked out of your classroom, unable to turn on the overhead projector, or incapable of getting your students’ attention?

The first day of class is important on many levels:  It affords you the opportunity to introduce yourself and the course, get a sense of your students, and set the tone for the semester.  It also gives students a chance to try the course out—to get a sense of who you are and what your course will be like.  Carefully plan the first class session, so you are sure to cover everything intended.

Use these guidelines to avoid the kinds of last-minute surprises that can ruin even the best teacher’s confidence.

Before you step into the classroom…

  • Know the rules
  • View your class roster
  • Request a HuskyCT site
  • Order your text books and other course materials
  • Order library reserves
  • Visit your classroom

On the first day…

  • Set a goal
  • Introduce yourself
  • Show an interest in getting to know your students
  • Introduce your course
  • Ask questions
  • Save time for student questions

Visit CETL’s web pages on Preparing for Your First Class and Interacting with Students During Your First Class for UConn-specific suggestions on how to achieve these goals and other helpful details.

If you are new at teaching and unsure about how to establish your identity in the classroom, take a look at the Faculty Focus article Six Myths about Teaching Personas.  Faculty Focus also recommends a variety of First Day Class Activities.

For more information, contact: the Institute for Teaching and Learning at itl@uconn.edu.