First Day(s) of Class

The first days of class are important in setting the tone for what is to come, and it is crucial to think carefully about how you present yourself and how you get the course established. The links in this section provide information and suggestions for getting started effectively on the first day of class.


Learning Students' Names (University of Nebraska)
List of 23 techniques for learning students’ names in both small and large class settings.

The Most Important Day: Starting Well (Wright, 1999)
Ideas for faculty members on how to start a course well.

101 Things for the First 3 Weeks (University of Nebraska, Lincoln)
One-hundred and one ideas for generating interest in course material, building community in the classroom, helping students transition into the course, and encouraging active learning.

The First Day of Class (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Seven tips for handling your first meeting with students, and the answers to seven common concerns of beginning teachers.

Building Rapport (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
This site offers three ideas you can begin the rapport-building process between instructor(s) and students on the first day of class.

CRLT Occasional Paper #9: A Key to Involving First Year Students (Fenty, 1997)
First-year students are, in many ways, the most vulnerable group in any academic community. This paper focuses on first-year students and what faculty can do to increase the likelihood that they will persist beyond the first year and attain their educational and personal goals.

IDEA Paper #39: Establishing Rapport: Personal Interaction and Learning (IDEA Center, Fleming, 2003).
Describes the importance of building rapport with students. Lists four factors that help an instructor develop rapport with students, as well as strategies for improving teacher performance in these areas.

back to top

shadow