Remember as a child your first day of school?
Well, as teachers, we deal with the first day of school as well, and it happens to be
important, and nerve-racking, because it is the first impression we make; like a seal, like a sticker, it’ll say what people think of us, how they perceive us. Doesn’t matter if you teach kindergarten or college, your students will get a first and indelible impression of you.
I have always thought of the first day of school as the first time you go out with a guy or girl you really like, let’s say it’s not a guy, it’s the guy. So, here’s the thing, you want him or her to like you so much as to ask you out for a second date, and not only that, you want to start a relationship with this guy, so you need more: you need to be great, you need to be awesome, all charm, all glow, in other words, irresistible, unforgettable, because remember, you want to impress this guy.
And, do you really know what makes someone like us? You know what really impacts, what really makes you unforgettable? Well, I know this one, and I’m willing to share the secret, I’m going to let it out. The key, the secret is to connect. Yes, it’s all about connecting. Happy couples who hit it off on the first date agreed on having felt, from the beginning, a connection (rings a bell?).
Well, teaching is not that different, really.
Not long ago, I was attending a course, and the first day of class all the teachers gathered together to introduce themselves. Boy! It was the most boring thing ever. All of them gave us their complete resume, stressing their PhDs, of course, and did they sound cocky! But you know what hit me the most? The sadness in their eyes, the lack of emotion in their words, the sameness of their ways, and the impossibility of making a connection with them. I remember thinking that day that if a PhD did that to people, I would never get one. So, yes, they did impress me, but in the wrong way.
Think about what impacts you. What causes in you a great or poor impression? To be funny, smart, friendly, open, active, energetic, engaged, sensitive? I don’t know, you tell me. But chomp, chomp, don’t take long, because your students, the ones who are going to see your pretty face for a looong year, or a looong semester, or a looong whatever, are waiting for you to come up with your best shot. And as we tried to conquer that guy -the guy- we should try to conquer our students as well. So, groom yourself, dress your best, work your mood, model your manners, plan in advance, bring extra material, prepare lots of activities to make them move, laugh, think, and share; know them by name, show them you care, be nice, smile, listen, and look into their eyes. Yep, so as in dating, impress, conquer, and connect.