Let’s face it. Making a good first impression has a unique sort of pressure associated with it. You can recover from a bad first impression, but a first impression will always be there, in the back of someone’s mind. There are so many reasons why a first impression can go wrong. First impressions can go badly because of a joint relationship, a differing point of view or an awkward experience.
Overcoming that first impression threshold can be intimidating. However, the less thought you put into it, the better. When you overthink how you approach a first impression, it often comes across as awkward. It’s an overall uncomfortable situation when a first impression goes badly.
In order to nail your first impression, you need to go in with a plan. Seems ironic after saying not to overthink it but having a plan beforehand can help. This plan can go towards any new introduction, but the first day of school can be especially stressful. It can be especially painful for a parent who messes it up or a child at the brunt of the awkward situation. They are the ones having to see the teacher’s face five days a week. Follow these general tips to help make any introduction (with anyone) run more smoothly.
Parents or students, introduce yourself at the first possible opportunity. Body language... body language is key to making a good first impression. If your arms are folded and your face is wearing every bit of dread on the first day back, the teacher will notice, especially a new teacher. This goes for parents or students. Be vigilant with your demeanor. Consider how you perceive others doing exactly what you are doing.
You don’t have to be overly friendly. Insincerity often leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Trust us when we say if you feel uncomfortable, odds are the teacher does, too. If it doesn’t feel natural, cut it back and be yourself. That’s all teachers care to see. A little enthusiasm for the new year helps, too.
Students, all your teacher truly cares about is that you are kind, considerate and open. You don’t have to be a genius in your class. Your teacher wants to see you succeed, but if math is not your strong suit, that’s okay. What they care about is your willingness to learn and your overall attitude. It’s not always a walk in the park at school for them, either. They are willing to work with you if you are open to work with them. It makes their job easier and more rewarding when they see you succeed. If you succeed, they succeed.
Parents, a new teacher’s first impression of you is another crucial component of your child’s journey back to school. You want to be friendly without coming across as fake. You want to be involved without undermining them. Make it known you are here to help with whatever you can and be friendly and welcoming. It will pay off.
Students, make sure those back-to-school checklists are checked, the supplies are packed, and you eat a hearty breakfast. Refrain from disruptions and stay focused on learning. The first couple of weeks are crucial in setting the groundwork for a good year, any year, but especially with a new teacher.
Don’t show up to class empty-handed and check the syllabus to see if there is anything you need to read or do before the first day of class. Make sure you are there on time for the first day. Getting there earlier is even better. Nothing ruins a good first impression like absence or tardiness. If an emergency pops up, make sure your teacher knows it ahead of time, not after the fact. Most teachers will appreciate you being considerate with your time and theirs.
All a teacher can truly ask for is for his or her students to be engaged in their lessons. Day dreaming is inevitable but sleeping in class is just rude. They know that not everything is going to interest you. However, the least you could do is be engaged when it is important, ask questions when you have them and be willing to help when it is needed.
The primary focus when building a first impression with a new teacher is to be positive, be attentive and be willing to work for your grade. It’s all a teacher can ask for. If you happen to make a connection on a personal level, like bonding over the subject itself, that is just a bonus.
Be Confident in Your Abilities.
Confidence is a good characteristic to have. Arrogance is not. Most teachers can appreciate a student who is confident in their abilities. However, never let that confidence block your ability to learn and listen. Confidence in your abilities leans more on the line of participation, but you must be able to take constructive criticism. The only way to grow is to learn from others who know more than you. If you are the smartest in the room, you need another. Never get complacent. Always be open to growth.
They are teaching you. Don’t present yourself as knowing more than them or backtalk. It will backfire and leave a negative impression that is hard to recover from. There is a way to hold a conversation with your questions or concerns without coming across as arrogant yet remaining knowledgeable on the topic.
Students, follow up. If your new teacher offers extra hours, take advantage of them. This doesn’t just apply to day one of classes. It is one thing to nail that first impression, it is another to form a bond and a positive reputation. Some of the biggest moments in our lives happen due to a teacher’s influence. Mentorship and overall lessons learned help guide us to our correct path in life.
Get to know your teacher. Talk with them. You never know what can come from it. Good first impressions linger, but so do bad ones. How you present yourself on the daily to a teacher, parent or other students are what makes a teacher’s overall impression of a student.
It is one thing to nail the right first impression. It is a completely different story when it comes to making that first impression last. It is important to follow up with your teacher and remain consistent. Teachers can spot insincerity. If you remain consistent to who you are, that first impression will last. It is no longer an impression; it is your reputation. Reputations matter.
Parents, Show Up.
Parents, consider showing up on the first day of school with something special for that new teacher. Show up and show you are involved. Welcome the new teacher and be open to volunteer when needed. Make the gift personal and thoughtful. It doesn't need to be extravagant, but it will be so appreciated. Refrain from mugs, apple-inspired knickknacks and overly expensive gestures. Think outside of the box, and please, don’t show up to the classroom on your high schooler’s first day back. They love you, but they don’t want that first impression made of them with their peers. Maybe make a meeting after school with the new teacher.
First day gifts often lean more toward the elementary school and some middle school ages. Consider these options that will benefit new teachers on the first day back.
A Penny for Your Thoughts
A personalized journal or planner is a great option for a new teacher. They are in the process of getting everything together and organizing. These are essential tools to start the year and get them through it successfully.
Obviously buying a new teacher time away is not ideal, let alone when you are trying to make a good first impression. However, a book can do just the trick. A good book can take a person away and out of reality when they need it most.
Personalized pencils may seem to be a silly gift to give a new teacher, but they really aren’t. A new teacher will appreciate these more than you may realize.
“Mrs. _______________ can I borrow a pencil?”
Spoiler alert: They’ll never get their pencil back. This way, they’ll be able to track them back to their rightful place.
Volunteer Your Time Any Way You Can.
Parents, the first impression your child’s new teacher gets of you can really affect your child’s school year. You are associated with them, so present yourself at your best. If you want to do a little extra, sometimes volunteer work can do more for your first impression than anything else.
You don’t need to wait until the first day. Reach out to the school before the school year starts. Ask what you can help with. The new teacher may need help with organizing the classroom or labeling desks. An involved parent is a parent a teacher will respect. However, a helicopter parent can be a teacher’s worst nightmare. Find your balance.
Volunteering also keeps a parent involved with their child’s school activities, grades and overall standing at school. If you are involved and respected at your child’s school, every new and coming teacher will automatically have a better perspective of you and any of your children coming through.
Help your child’s teacher- new or returning. How you send your child to school can help a teacher more than you know. Send them off well-rested and fed. Send them with all your love and support.
Listen to your child. Most teachers genuinely care for their students. They want to see them succeed. They are with your kids nearly as much through the school year as you are. Make your time with them count. Build that relationship and make communication open. If you want your child to succeed throughout the school year, their first impression and yours should be a priority.
Don’t stop reaching out and volunteering throughout the school year. Work with your teacher and remain consistent with your children. You can’t fall short of staying on top of the important things. Of course, that is easier said than done. If you are on top of things, your child’s teacher will appreciate it, and you and your child will benefit in the long run.
Add some life to the classroom.
Parents and students alike, consider adding some life into the new teacher’s classroom- figuratively and literally. Encouraging a new teacher is one way. Remaining respectful and attentive is another.
Create a “The Skies are so Blue.” bask-to-school gift basket. Attach the poem, “Roses are red. Violets are BLUE. We really appreciate all that you do.”
This basket should be full of goodies to kick off the first day of school. The new teacher will love the gesture, and it will show them how truly sweet your kiddo is. You can add absolutely anything in. Get creative and consider items they’ll need.
This basket should consist of all-things blue. Blue pens, blue chocolates, blue disinfecting wipes and other blue items. Arrange it all pretty and in a blue container that they can reuse in the classroom. Don’t stop there. Reach out and see what items they still need, so they don’t have to go out and buy them themselves.
Finish off your gift right. Let our florists at Wild Strawberry & More in Lansing, MI create the perfect blue flower arrangement to complement this idea. All these treats and goodies are a good first day impression starter. A plant or a succulent can be an even more appropriate gift to pair with a great first impression. They’ll live longer. They don’t need much tending to, and teachers can turn taking care of these plants into a hands-on lesson in the classroom.
No matter the age of the student or the involvement of the teacher, nailing a first impression with a new teacher can be frightening. Whether you are a parent or a student, your approach should be the same. Be authentic, sincere and kind. That’s all that really matters. Everything else will fall into place.