Six Back-to-School Ideas for the First EFL Class.

Back to school. Finally! In Egypt. The first day of school is a special day for students and teachers. It is a day full of emotions. Teachers get anxious about how to start their first lesson and students feel nervous about how their teachers are like. I agree that first impression counts, so it’s necessary for each teacher to plan for a successful first lesson that will set a good tone for the rest of the lessons of the course along the school year. Here are some useful back-to-school ideas for the first EFL class.

1. Get to know your students and let them get to know you:

First, introduce yourself to your students telling them what subject you are going to teach. Give them some detailed information about yourself such as your likes and dislikes, your hobbies, your favorite football team, … etc. and then get to know your students asking them questions to find out a little more about them.

2. Do some activities to break the ice with your students: 

Plan for some warm-up activities to create a friendly and comfortable atmosphere in the classroom. Make it fun and always encourage students to communicate (in English if possible) with you and others comfortably. Remember, some students may feel shy on the first day; it’s probably the first time they’re meeting you and their classmates. A good way to help students overcome their shyness and lighten up the mood is to use icebreakers.

3. Go through the textbook with them:

Talk about what they are going to learn, and the specific skills covered in each unit. Tell them what they will be able do at the end of the course and how it is very interesting. Focus on the fun they will feel if they engage in the lessons.

4. Set the tone for all future classes:

Your first lesson is the perfect time to set your rules and expectations. Go over what you want out of your students, but also tell them what you plan to do for them if they stick to the rules. You can write the rules onto a piece of poster board to be shown clearly for all students every day.

6. Talk about possible disruptive behaviors and their consequences (For Adults):

You can mention some classic examples of disruptive behaviors such as:

  • Insults or put downs,
  • Bullying,
  • No respect for other students and their personal belongings,
  • No respect for the teacher,
  • Unwillingness to participate in the activities,
  • Not following the rules agreed upon beforehand,
  • Cheating,
  • Not completing tasks, assignments, homework,
  • Untidiness and littering, …etc.

And then, talk about what happens if a student do one of the previous behaviors. It is recommended that you tell them a system of punishments and rewards as well. You may choose to give them a warning first; the second time, they lose a privilege, like going outside to play; the third time, a call is made to his or her parents.

5. Get an idea of your students’ skill levels.

Plan activities that test the four basic English skills: listening, speaking, writing and reading. You can make a short quiz to know brilliant students and low achievers.

6. Let your students have a way to reach you.

Tell your students that you are in the school to help them and they can come to you for any problem they encounter in the course. Be precise and tell them exactly where and when they can come to meet you in the school. You can also give them your WhatsApp number to connect with you at any time.

Have a Great First Lesson!
Having a great first lesson sets a great tone for future lessons and makes students look forward to your classes. All you need is a good attitude and a few activities prepared beforehand. Treat your first lesson as a meet-and-greet rather than a classroom lecture and be sure to have fun! Start your first class in a fun way. That’s ALL.

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