First impressions are important, and for teachers, this is never truer than on the first day of class when introducing yourself. Your first-day new teacher introduction plays an important role in setting the tone for the whole semester, from encouraging students to speak up to getting them to learn in your classroom. If you’re wondering how to introduce yourself to a new class, we’ve got you covered with these tips.
The importance of an introduction in teaching
In the education world, extensive research has shown that academic success depends on positive relationships between teachers and students. This is true when it comes to learning in any environment, including online tutoring. One study published in the educational journal Exceptional Children explains that good relationships with your students ultimately mean less disruption, better behavior and more focus on classwork in your classroom.
A teacher’s introduction speech to students is a crucial opportunity to build good classroom relationships. Naturally, students want to know a bit about you – where you’re from, what your skills are – but this introduction isn’t just about answering questions. It’s about building trust and respect with your students and making your classroom a safe space to learn.
If you’re an online tutor, your video introduction plays this crucial role. Find out how to create the perfect tutor introduction video.
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How to introduce yourself as a teacher
Now to the question on everyone’s lips: how to introduce myself in the classroom?
Make a good impression
It only takes a few seconds for someone to evaluate a person they meet for the first time and form an opinion about them. In addition to what we actually say, appearance, body language and mannerisms all play a part in making a good impression.
Some of the best ways to create a good impression include being on time and presenting oneself appropriately, which are signs of respect towards people. While it is important to give off a sense of confidence and authority, it is equally essential to be your authentic self, which helps to build trust and earn the respect and integrity from the people you meet.
Body language can also be make-or-break for creating a good impression. Stand tall, smile, make eye contact and greet people with a firm handshake.
Attracting everyone’s attention
There are several different ways to attract students’ attention. Using a startling quote as an opening statement is a good idea to grab their attention from the start. A humorous statement will also have the same effect and should help your students relate to you.
While talking, you should make sure to frequently change the level and tone of your voice, which signals to your audience that it is time to pay attention to. Incorporating movement to your delivery by vividly gesturing can also help to attract attention, while props like a bell or whistle can be effective in very noisy teaching environments.
Attracting everyone’s attention might be very difficult. In the video below, the teacher is completely new to the class, and the pupils’ behavior is pretty challenging:
Introducing yourself in 30 seconds
On the first day of class, there is usually a lot of ground to be covered, which means you have to keep your introduction brief. An informative introduction does not have to take more than 30 seconds. In this time, give your name first and tell students what they should address you as.
Give your students a little glimpse into your personality by sharing a couple of details about yourself, like your hobbies, favorite sports or other interests. Your 30-second introduction should be positive and upbeat and followed by a smooth transition onto other creative introductory activities.
Making a good first impression in a new class
It is not enough to simply be nice to make a good first impression in a new class. Take the time to learn a little bit about your students before the class and greet them individually to help make them feel valued and important.
While it can often take time for a new teacher to grow on their students, despite his or her best efforts, you have a very good chance of making a good first impression by being confident and genuine. Without overdoing it, share some personal anecdotes and try to build a rapport that will grow over time.
Impressing your new students
If you want to go a step further and impress your new students, you should try to create a friendly and inviting atmosphere in class. This could be done either by decorating the classroom with pictures that will engage the students and elicit insightful responses or by playing creative introduction games.
Using technology is another good way to impress your students. Multimedia will add richness to your lessons and teaching methods, appealing to younger generations and making them feel right at home in your classroom.
How do you introduce yourself in a speech?
Most people tend to use a stereotypical simple formula to introduce themselves in a speech, which only includes their name and profession.
However, it is important to move beyond the basics in order to give people an idea of who you really are as a person. In addition to giving your name, you can add some details about your hobbies and interests to your introduction speech or share a special personal anecdote appropriate for the situation and environment you are in.
Here are the most important things to say when introducing yourself.
1. Your name and what the students should call you.
Students need to feel comfortable addressing you and asking for help, so modeling the pronunciation of your name and the title is a great place to start. Is your title Miss, Ms or Mrs? Mr. Buchowski or Mr. B? Help to make it stick by putting your name on display on a poster, whiteboard or sign on your desk.
2. Your hobbies and interests.
Building a rapport with your students helps to make you more relatable and approachable to them. Give them something to identify with or talk to you about – tell them a little about your life outside of class.
3. Explain classroom rules.
Should they put a hand up to ask a question? Do you have a signal or sound for silence in the classroom? Set the tone for the entire year by making the rules for students in your class, and involve them in making the rules to encourage sticking to them and heighten engagement.
Some teachers follow their introduction with a memory exercise to ensure students stay attentive and understand the information given.
How do you introduce yourself in a unique and creative way?
Rather than hold a boring monologue, try to come up with unique and creative ways to introduce yourself that will engage your students.
You can bring visual materials to show them as part of your self-introduction, including photos of yourself at their age to trigger interesting discussions or images from your hometown.
The “20 Questions” and “Two Truths and a Lie” games are also popular and fun ways to creatively introduce oneself while inviting students to participate and reveal more about themselves in the process too.
How do you introduce yourself to an online class?
When introducing yourself in an online class, you need to, first of all, mention your name, professional details, and location. Mentioning your location is particularly important because your students need to be aware of the potential time difference between you and them.
You should extend your introduction by adding links to your personal web page or your social media profiles (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.), which will give your students a clearer idea of who you are. While you can mention your interests outside of class in order to build rapport with your students, you should maintain a professional tone and keep your introduction in context.
The first day of class
The first day of class can be daunting for new teachers: everything from what you do to what you wear during this first contact with your students has an impact on classroom experience and students’ perception of the teacher. Here are our tips for a successful first day.
Start with a warm-up
Students on the first day are often brimming with nervous energy. Many teachers begin lessons with a warm-up activity to break the ice and get the students’ attention. The first class is the perfect time to introduce your favorite warm-up activity or game, or to involve the students in choosing how your lessons will begin.
Keep your activity simple. Whether you’re teaching an ESL or foreign language class or not, the aim is not to teach something – it’s to engage the students and make them comfortable around you and their peers.
Example classroom warm-up activity
One popular warm-up activity is categories. You pick a category and have students name something that fits in that category until they can’t anymore. You can add challenges like ‘starting with the letter M’ or asking students to name all the words said before theirs in order.
Activities like these enhance the student-teacher relationship.
What to do on the first day of class
Students are full of energy and nerves on the first day of class, so the very first lesson is often not the most productive. Many teachers focus instead on laying the foundations for good classroom relationships: setting rules, getting-to-know-you exercises and breaking the ice with activities or games.
On the first day, the focus should be on making your students feel comfortable and building rapport. You should make sure to not do all the talking and listen to your students instead.
What shouldn’t you do on the first day in a new class?
- Don’t dress casually. While you should keep the atmosphere light on the first day, it is essential to remember that you are a professional and, therefore, should act and dress as such. Do not dress down on your first day, as you only get one chance to make a first impression. Choose the most professional outfit you have. This will also help you maintain the necessary distance between you and the students.
- Don’t arrive late to the classroom, otherwise your students are likely to turn into chronic latecomers soon.
- Don’t discuss classroom rules and guidelines. Discussion about administrative matters can be boring and can put students off on their first day. There should be plenty of time later throughout the courses to talk about guidelines and the syllabus.
- Don’t turn a blind eye even to a little disobedience. What seems little at first sight, will grow fast. Let your new students see that you pay attention to their behavior.
- Don’t turn your first lesson into mere fun. A little fun never hurts anyone but make sure that it lasts not longer than 5-7 minutes. If you turn your whole lesson into a party, good discipline will be extremely difficult to impose later on.
- Don’t report a disruptive student’s behavior to the headmaster. On your first day, you should appear authoritative enough but still open to negotiation. Should a student be disruptive, just warn him that next time you will let him leave the room and report the incident to the headmaster.
What do you do if you are nervous on the first day in a new class?
It is natural to be nervous on the first day in a new class, even if you have a lot of teaching experience. In order to ensure you are in the best state of mind possible for your first day, eat and sleep well the night before, which should help to reduce your anxiety.
Incorporate some breathing exercises into your morning routine and amp yourself up before heading to class, by listening to your favorite songs and/or exercising. Chat with your students briefly when they enter the class, in order to make them and yourself feel more at ease before the lesson starts.
What to wear on the first day of class
Be sure to check dress code requirements if they apply and choose an outfit that looks professional. Inappropriate clothing can be distracting for students and disruptive in class, so play it safe on day one especially.
We’ve covered how to introduce yourself to a new class, activities to break the ice and what to do on the first day. Now all you need to do is make it your own and enjoy running your classroom!
A new class can be nerve-wracking, not only for students but also for teachers! However, with proper planning, it can be very exciting and rewarding. On the first day of a new class, teachers should focus on rapport building and fun ice-breaking activities, while maintaining a professional teaching atmosphere.
After you have introduced yourself as the teacher and learned a bit more about your new students, your aim should be to generate interest and enthusiasm for the upcoming course. For the best student-teacher experience, start your day with a smile and help to put your students at ease. Happy teaching!
- Chandra, Ritu. (2015). Classroom Management for Effective Teaching. International Journal of Education and Psychological Research (IJEPR).
- Broden, M. et al. (1970) ‘Effects of Teacher Attention and a Token Reinforcement System in a Junior High School Special Education Class’, Exceptional Children, 36(5), pp. 341–349.
- Arntsen, Tara. First Lesson Magic: How to Introduce Yourself.