In this article, Dr. Jennifer Garrett and Mary Clement talk about the importance of the first day of class. They introduce a tool they call “Today We Will list” to help maximize instructional time and minimize classroom management efforts. Having the list every class period throughout the whole class ensures that instructors remain on task while students are encouraged to take responsibilities for the material.

The first day of class is critical. What happens on the first day, even in the first moments, sets the tone for the entire course. The impression you make will last the entire semester, and today’s students are not shy about sharing their opinions. Most students will make up their minds about the course and the instructor during that first class period.


That is why you must use the first day, the first moments of class, to inspire confidence in your abilities and create a classroom atmosphere where the rules are clear; expectations are high; and yet students feel welcome, comfortable, and engaged.

We are hosting a syllabus clinic at the Faculty Commons today (3-7PM) and next week, Wednesday (3-7PM), Thursday (9AM-noon). Come join us for a snack and syllabus consultation, walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that you RSVP ( ahead of time if you can.