First Day of Class: A Demonstration

Dr. Pearl Ratunil


Academy for Teaching Excellence

Reflection Writing

On a piece of paper or laptop reflect on the following question, and write for 5-7 minutes.   After the reflection, we will have a conversation about our responses.


Remember yourself at an earlier age (this could be age 10, 15, 25, etc).  What did you think you would be doing at the age you are right now?  Did you imagine yourself doing what you do now?  What did you imagine for yourself at that age, and how is it different from what actually happened?  What profession did you imagine you would have?

Begin in a relaxed manner, just writing to reflect.


First Day of Class Tips: The Highlights

Before the first day:

  • Locate your classroom and use your keys/keycard – may need to contact Harper Police for room access. Anticipate 20 mins for this.
  • Bring supplies like a dry-erase marker
  • Try the computer podium
  • Decide how students should address you

FIRST DAY – Overview of Listed Sources

  • Make sure students are in the correct section.  Have them take out their schedule and double check the section numbers.
  • Introduce yourself and pronounce your name slowly – using the desired address:  Dr./Professor/Mr or Ms.
  • Establish rapport/create relationships
  • Overview syllabus and course subject
  • Establish classroom climate and tone (lecture, group work, flipped, blended)
  • Consider using ice breakers (student interviews, memory games, group activities). Recommended that it be related to course content.
  • Meet for the full period to establish expectations and rapport
  • **Whatever you plan to do during the semester, do it on the first day.


  • Write short notes on how it went — what would you do differently? Did the student ask a question about registration or course credits that you couldn’t answer?  Did you forget something?
  • Talk to your peers about their first days. Get ideas, establish relationships with other teachers which is our best resource.

Annotated List of Sources


Map it out. … take out [a] piece of paper and pencil. Set the paper down lengthwise. You are about to make a seating chart that maps out your class. Now, take your piece of chalk and write on the board: “Who are you?” and “Why are you here?.”  Start in the corner of the room and go row by row, encouraging each student to give new answers to these broad existential questions.  [SOURCE:]


Imagine a typical day in your life ten years from now and describe it in detail. Where are you living? What job do you have? What kind of car do you drive? Do you commute? Work at home?  Do you eat breakfast at home? Do you drink coffee? Also describe your emotional or psychological state. Are you happy?  Are you a busy person?  Are you enjoying life?  Write in present tense and describe your typical day on _______ [today’s date but 10 years hence, e.g.  August 21, 2025].


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