The first days of school are filled with new experiences, such as new faces, schedules, challenges, and expectations. There are many things teachers can do to help students ease into a positive and safe learning environment. On the first day of class, students should be given a clear expectation of what the school year will be like. They should be told that it is expected of them to be successful in passing tests and quizzes. With that said, students should also be given a clear distinction between course grades, teacher expectations of students, and the norms of the classroom. All students possess different strengths and weakness and must rely on the help of each other along with the teaching staff to achieve a successful learning school year. Below are some questions of how to address the first day of class while establishing some welcoming activities for the first day of school.
1. How can teachers provide a safe and secure classroom climate?
The foundation for successful learning as well as a safe class room starts with the relationship that teachers develop with students (Sousa & Tomlinson, 2011). There will be a safe classroom environment, which will encourage students to speak their minds. It is possible that some comments may seem harmless to some people, but may trigger an emotional reaction in others. The class will be told to conduct their behavior and comments in a manner where other individuals do not feel personally threatened. Students feel confident to speak openly about their needs and to talk about problems, in an atmosphere that is not confrontational.
· Create a warm classroom environment,
· Show respect to every individual within the classroom,
· Teachers should always be friendly
· Place students with behavior problems in close proximity to the teacher’s desk
· All students should have a clear view of the teacher and vice versa, at all times
2. How can teachers provide a positive learning environment?
If a student is not learning, teachers must determine how to modify his or her teaching style to meet the needs of students (Sousa & Tomlinson, 2011). Students' internal reactions to class activities and classmates-feelings of annoyance, anger, anxiety, surprise, confusion, or defensiveness are signs that their way of thinking about things is being challenged. Creating a positive learning environment will optimize student learning, help you build a cohesive classroom community and create a pleasant work environment for both you and your students (bright hub education, 2012). Below are a few ideas from the Bright Hub site that will be put to use:
· Get to know each student as a person as soon as possible after meeting them.
· Spend time with students individually every day.
· Fill your classroom with positive messages and quotes. Make it impossible for students in your classroom to not feel that they are each destined for greatness.
· Provide frequent positive feedback. Let students know that they are doing a good job.
· Allow students to make appointments with you to talk privately about overwhelming problems, issues and dilemmas.
3. How can teachers meet the social and emotional needs of students?
Sousa & Tomlinson (2011) suggests that students don’t only learn about the curriculum; they are learning about themselves, how to interact with other students, and how to choose friends. Students learn how to use their emotions to help them react in regards to specific situations. Sometime teachers will need to study students’ demeanor and body language to determine if they needed extra attention or having difficulties with a subject (ASCD, 2012).
· Give students outlets for expression. Create a special place to display student art and writing.
· Helped teach students the process to deal with differences of opinion.
· Teach students to respect others ideas and feelings
· Learning to read my students’ demeanor and body language.
4. How can teachers foster a sense of student ownership?
Teachers, who feel students should feel ownership of their education, will allow frequent student input (Sousa & Tomlinson, 2011). Students, like most humans, are explorers. Let students explore and gather a sense of ownership when they have discovered information on their own.
· Give students a voice so they become full participants in their own education.
· Take time to relate to students about their everyday life. When we make those small, informal, real-life connections, we created a more relaxed atmosphere that supports academics (ASCD, 2012).
5. How can teachers create empathy with students?
Empathy is mainly defined by people as the ability to see something from another person’s perspective and trying to feel what they feel. It helps when teachers try to perceive the world through a student’s eye (Sousa & Tomlinson, 2011). This promotes a great caring relationship between teachers and students. It is beneficial also to have students see specific situations in the eyes of their peers as well. Below is an exercise found from an online teach magazine.
· Split the classroom into two groups.
· Have students think of and create a conflicting situation that must be resolved
· Each group will play a different role
· After 10 or 15 minutes of discussion, the groups must switch roles and put themselves in the opposite group’s shoes.
6. How can teachers provide students opportunities to succeed?
Classes with well-prepared lessons rarely have discipline problems, because students feel successful while taking part in a meaningful learning experience. Should there become a time when a student’s behavior is unsatisfactory, discipline measures will be used as a way of reminding the student of appropriate behavior.
· Keep the classroom orderly and well organized.
· The physical arrangement of the classroom should be reflective of the diverse cultural characteristics of the students.
7. How can teachers eliminate student fear of failure and humiliation?
The fear response is deeply ingrained in the human brain and can shut down a student’s higher cognitive processes, so that the brain can focus on the fear (Sousa & Tomlinson, 2011). As the text implies, one of the greatest obstacle to learning is the fear of making a mistakes with feeling humiliated. Learning is a driven by curiosity, which leads to exploration and discovery of a wonderful cycle of learning. The more a child experiences this cycle of wonder, the more she can create a lifelong excitement and love of learning. Make it clear that it's acceptable to make mistakes when learning. Let students know that making mistakes is important for true learning to take place. All new learning requires that students become vulnerable and take a risk as they move out of their comfort zones (ASCD, 2012).
· Provide opportunities for success to each child in the classroom, encouraging growth from wherever they start.
· Assess student ability and adjust instruction to maintain an appropriate level of challenge.
· Offer students a variety of ways to demonstrate their knowledge, intelligence, and mastery.
· Try to accommodate a variety of interests, motivators, modality strengths, and learning preferences in my directions, instructions, and assignments.
Bright Hub Education. (2012). Children Respond to a Positive Learning Environment. Retrieved
ASCD. (2012). How Can We Make Time to Meet Students' Emotional Needs? Retrieved from
TEACH. (2012). Creating Empathy in the Classroom. Retrieved from