In bridge, if you have a weak hand, you do not get the bid and you
cannot name the trump, but you do get to play first. If you have an
Ace, you play it on the first round. A first year teacher may not
have a strong hand, but start with your Ace. Start with something
that you are the most confident with and at ease with. Teach
something you have done many times, but remember how it felt to do it
A good first impression has several advantages. You and they will
come to expect higher quality standards from each other. You are
less likely to be depressed and apologetic. Students will expect to
learn new things. Everybody likes learning from an expert.
This has been said many times, but starting with overemphasis on the
details of classroom management is better than beating it into them
after everything gets out of control. Inject humor into tense
situations can be very useful. When things start to get chaotic,
using reminder questions sounds less bossy than shouting out demands.
Having said this, do not start off too slowly. Why waste the first
day motivation on housekeeping and management issues? Use the pent up
energy, good intentions, and excitement by giving them challenging
hands-on practice work immediately when they enter the room. They
can do some skill practice that will help them excel and surprise
themselves on their first project. Interrupt the work early enough
to spend the last part of the class period explaining essential rules
and expectations. Do this every day until everything is covered.
Repeat the things that need repeating. The habit of getting to work
as they come into class avoids problems and fights the tendency to
If the class requires homework, be sure to assign something to be
finished before the second session. Keep it small, but make it
obvious that you are giving points for those who do it. Those who
forget get one chance to earn the points, but they have to do half
again as much work for the same points. To combat the problem of
slip shod low quality homework give them a rubric that gives more
points for quality work, effort, and creativity.
End the period with an interesting art question to contemplate. What
was learned or practiced that day? Give them art related things to
find in their everyday routines and surroundings. Remind them where
to look for the instructions to get started when they come to class.
Tell them what to think about, look for, and/or remember in order to
get better ideas for upcoming assignments. As the teacher, follow up
on these things and they will begin to think like artists. They will
teach themselves. You will love your job.