Teaching the First Day



I. Room/ physical setting

* location: know where your room is and how to get there
* setup: note type of chairs and tables; chalk and/or marker board; lighting, etc.
* limitations: does the room have what you need?
* possibilities

-possible alternative configurations of chairs/tables (circles or semi-circles are generally best for fostering discussion)
-features that you might make special use of

II. Course Particulars: Provide a course contract that includes:

* class time(s), day(s), location(s)

* prerequisites (ENWR 105 is the prerequisite for 106)

* departmental and university requirements this course meets

* your name

* your phone (include limitations on calling) and/or email

* your office hours

* your grading policies, including how the final grade will be determined

* your participation and attendance expectations, including assignments not listed on the syllabus
III. De-fuse Potential Problems

* Know add-drop policies. In general, all add/drop traffic for ENWR should be handled by ISIS. If your section is full, advise would-be students to add an open section via ISIS. Steer any special cases to Jon in the writing program office (Bryan 322B)

* Know maximum number of students you can have in class

IV. Who are your students and what do you want/need to know about them? How will you remember them?

We recommend using 3x5 cards to gather basic information (name, phone, email, major, year, reason for taking the course, memory hook).
V. What do your students want/need to know about you?

* What will you wear and what message will it send?

* How will you introduce yourself and what will your opening remarks consist of?

* What is your teaching persona?
VI. Practice:

* Writing on the board

* What you are going to do on the first day. Script it out as much as necessary.


VII. Arrive Early

* write your name, class, course number, and section on board

* talk to students as they come in

* hand out syllabus and any other materials as they come in, unless you have reason to withhold them
VIII. Start Well.

Start on time and with confidence (or at least with the convincing appearance of confidence)
IX. Do Business

* very briefly go over basic information on syllabus (don't take too long on this, or you'll start the semester on a dead note)

* find out whether anyone is not registered for class and know what to do about it
X. Introduce yourself as a scholar and a person

* What is your interest in this subject?

* Give them some insight into you by telling them something about yourself.

* Go over the personal information handout

* (record your remarks for latecomers if you like)

* (give people who realize they are in the wrong class or who have already decided they want to bail out an opportunity to exit gracefully)
XI. Find out who they are (3 x 5 cards) and introduce students to each other.
XII. Teach Something. Aim to pique interest in the course. What are the Big Issues?
XIII. Give a look ahead: what will you be doing next time?
XIV. Give them an assignment and/or clear understanding of what they need to do by next class.


Don't leave first.

NERVOUS? See page 16 of the TRC handbook.

WANT MORE IDEAS? See the following websites:

* Teaching Tips Index (link to list of resources such as teaching the first day, assessmenttechniques and movtivating students)