The following is a list of ways that I feel you can help students feel
comfortable on the first day and throughout the year.
1) Let students know that you are a "real" person. Tell
them about yourself through pictures and stories.
2) If you want students to know that you care about them show them
by greeting them at the door, use eye contact when speaking with
them, show compassion and always be honest.
3) Establish procedures in the beginning. Let them know what is
expected of them. Do not make a list of rules telling them what
they can't do. Instead make a student created list of what is
expected. For instance, do not say
"Don't run in the hall,"
"Walk calmly and quietly in the hall."
Review the procedures often at the beginning of the year and
as needed later.
Most of all be consistant.
4) Create an atmosphere in the classroom that makes the students feel
comfortable. The colors blue, green and purple are most calming.
Natural lighting and plants are also good ideas for a comfortable classroom.
TEACHER'S NOTE: This point hit home when the instuctor at the seminar I attended asked us to think about the places we go to feel relaxed and what colors were there. Try it.
5) Be realistic in your expectations. Don't expect the students to do
more than they are capable of, this causes anxiety. At the same
time don't make things so easy that they become bored.
6) Make an effort to create a community in your classroom. Use
activities that help the class get to know each other as well as developing a sense of trust.
Remember to continue doing these activities throughout the school
year, not just the first few days.
TEACHER'S NOTE: The book Tribes by Jeanne Gibbs is loaded with
activities that promote these things in the classroom.
7) Teach to all learning styles beginning on day one. Remember
that all students do not learn the same way. Give choices whenever
8) Learn the students names quickly and use their names when talking