The first day of school is all about making great first impressions. This is your chance to establish students’ expectations of your teaching style and your expectations for student behavior. With over 50 years of experience in the student travel industry, we’ve learned a thing or two about first impressions, and we wanted to share our Do’s and Don’ts for making great ones.
DO set standards for procedures
At Brightspark Travel, we know the importance setting standards for behavioral expectations right at the beginning of a student tour. Outlining rules up front leaves no room for excuses. Setting standards in the classroom similarly leads to a smooth-running year.
DON’T give any leeway on the above procedures
Even if students are otherwise well-behaved, do not excuse even the smallest procedural slip-up. In student travel, safety is a number one priority. Though some safety rules like running on the bus can seem arbitrary at times, we know that eschewing them will send signals to students that none of the rules matter. The same goes for your classroom.
DO over prepare
On tour and in the classroom, organization and preparation are essential aspects of being in control. Over preparing is always a good thing. For example, if you hand out materials to students, make sure you have a couple extra; being one or two worksheets short will make you seem disorganized.
DON’T give downtime right away
We make sure that the first couple of days on a student tour are packed with activities. Why? With the inevitable excitement students feel on the first days of their tour — and on the first day of school — downtime leads to chaos. Make sure you have enough activities and worksheets to keep students busy.
DO be friendly
Smile and tell students a fun, personal story about yourself. Remember that you can be a respected authority while still being approachable and real.
DON’T overwhelm with curriculum-related details
Students are getting a lot of information, and although giving a brief introduction to your curriculum is advised, too many details will certainly overwhelm. Stick with general overviews and fun facts.
DO start learning names immediately
Not only will this make tasks like handing out homework and marking attendance easier, it also shows genuine concern for students. Our Tour Directors believe that getting to know students' names is integral to engagement.
Tell us your do’s and don’ts for the first day of school in the comments section below.