Students can feel disconnected and disoriented in a new class. Returning students might feel self-conscious about their age and out of place returning to school while younger students might bring emotional remnants of negative high school experiences with them to their first college classroom.
Breaking the ice is essential in establishing this connection. In Planning for the First Day of Class, you found solid advice for the first day of class. Some ideas for lessening the tensions that might exist from lack of familiarity include:
Know your philosophy regarding education and tell your students what it is. This can be an enlightening experience for them to realize that you consider your career to be deeper in meaning.
Take digital photos (with permission) of the class to let them know that you value them and want know their names and faces as soon as possible. Other options are name tents in on their desk, or practice as a group with name memory tricks. Making a seat plan is also recommended. There is also ample information available on the Internet for getting students names learned quickly.
Share an instance when you struggled as a student and how you dealt with it. This may help the students in dealing with their own struggles.
Share your memories of your best and your worst instructors when you were a student. Let them know that you are evolving as an instructor and hope to develop into one that learns to meet student’s expectations.
Distribute a questionnaire. It is best to distribute a single-page (confidentially and with a clear statement that the decision to not answer the questions does not constitute lack of participation) for students’ e-mail address, phone number, age, number of children, hobbies, favorite books, expectations about the class, favorite movies, music, number of hours worked, special information that would help them succeed in the class, favorite subject in high school, plan of study, and more. Answers to the questionnaire are later discussed with the class in terms of averages and areas of interest. Often students make connections with each other when they hear commonalties.
Being friendly to your students is not bad. It is best to develop a certain connection with them. That is one way on how teachers can influence their students. Being connected with them may build confidence and emotional success. So let us stay connected with them.

By: Amalia C. Cortez | Teacher II | Dr. Victoria Roman Memorial High School | Pilar, Bataan

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