Preparing for the First Day of Class (and Beyond)

Whether you’re a first-time teacher or seasoned professional, the first day of class brings its own set of challenges. A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education provides tips on preparing for the first day of class and how to use the first class session as a benchmark for success throughout the semester.

The article starts by giving four key principles that can help teachers craft a course, including curiosity, community, learning, and expectations. The story then moves to an outline of things teachers can do before the first day of class to prepare. Instructors should consider students, the physical classroom space, technology in the classroom, and even wardrobe before the first class session, James M. Lang, a professor of English and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College, writes in the article.

Lang then gives examples of successful first day classes in subject areas ranging from English Composition to Linear Algebra by drawing on tips from colleagues and higher education professionals. He ends the article with a summary of how teachers can follow up on the first day of classes to build a positive learning community. For example, teachers can take pictures of the board on the first day of class and then present it to students on the last day of class to show how far they’ve come during the semester, Lang writes in the story.