First Day : getting to know my students

I’ve been teaching for a long, loooong time and one might expect I don’t have to suffer from first-class stress . But I’ve come to terms with myself and admitted  that no matter how long I’ve been in the business, it is always going  to feel like  having a bull ( past the butterfly feeling) in my stomach. So again, I’m hunting books ,posts, and the Internet for ideas to use on the first day  to get to know my students and to give them the first chance to use the language. These are the ones I’m considering  – in case you want to use them.

By the way, these are the ones I used last year if you want to have a look

♥Interviewing your partner: Tell students they are going to interview four or five people they don’t know in the class. Ask them to write three or four questions to ask these people. Once it is done, students get up and walk around the classroom.

♥Get to Know you Bingo: this one requires a bit of preparation but it’s not like you are already loaded with exams, is it? Let’s play bingo, then! Now, the first thing you need to do is prepare a bingo sheet with some questions ( a grid of  4×4 , for example). Make sure students know how to play bingo- this is quite  important, as you can guess. Students get up and walk around asking questions to everybody in the class but they have to have a different name for each grid. So if a student asks a question to a student and this student says “yes”, he should write the name of that student in the grid and move on; if the student says “no”, he can then ask this same student a new question. The first person to get a line down or across shouts “LINE” and the first person to fill in all the boxes with a name shouts  BINGO.

I would , of course, encourage follow-up questions  when checking,  with  the students providing the questions- of course.

♥Who Am I..? I love this game to introduce myself to my students. It is played in teams and there is a winner. If you have been reading me for some time you know I am very competitive; that must be the reason why I am definitely going to use this one this year. The game was written by Paul Adams  and here is the link

♥Five Questions. Divide the class in five groups and ask each group to write a question they would like to ask you. In turns, one member of each group comes up to the board and writes the question. The students decide if the question is correct in terms of tenses, spelling …etc. Finally, the student asks the question. Before you tell them, give the students the chance to guess your answer.

♥Writing SampleI’m thinking it might be a good idea to use this warm-up after doing some oral practice. The idea is to ask students  to write a bit about themselves  to  get an idea of how advanced they are. Some ideas might be : Why are you learning English and why are you taking this course? or What’s your favourite hobby ?

Hope you can use some of these ideas!!!

7 thoughts on “First Day : getting to know my students

  1. Hello Christina and thanks again for your time and kindness,

    I am currently teaching in a language school in Granada. I hope to be able to get a job in a state funded school as a primary language teacher as soon as public placements get back to normal, rather than the 10% offered these last years by the respective authorities in each autonomous community.

    I don’t have a blog yet, and it so happens that I was thinking about starting one for my mother (I also include myself) when I came across your blog. I am really aware of how useful a good blog can be when teaching adults, as you can address them to your blog for futher information; but I am also aware of how time consuming this hobby can get to be.

    Where I work we have a so called “plataforma telemática” to which I devote many hours including contents, articles, links…; but believe it or not, it does not pick up among the students since it requires to be logged-in and the programming of the page is not really user friendly.

    I said before to star a blog for my mother…. well she is a teacher at university and she has been thinking about retirement recently. I am great with kids and programming, and my mother is great with technical language aspects. I do feel as if a great result could be expected form such marrigement. If I get a bit of time in the coming months to start a blog be sure you will be the first person to know on the internet.


  2. But of course you can use and mention my blog ! I can only feel honoured ! By the way, where are you teaching? Do you have your own blog?

  3. Thank you so much for such a warm welcoming.

    No need to say that I will keep dropping by as I can assure this is quite likely one of the best blogs I have bumped into.

    I do hope that you do check what I am about to publish since it’s not really constructive towards your blog, but it is asking for permission to mention your blog in my classes.

    I currently teach many levels, but the cleanness and accuracy of some of the topics in this blog are just mind blowing, and to say that it seems to me like a real commitement by your behalf. This is just something I can not let go by.

    In all, I would like to know if you grant me the privilege to mention your blog as a tool to exploit in my classes. No worries if not so.

    It would be rude if I could not give something in return for such a great service offered to any internet surfer. I love helping people out and I have worked many years teaching. I would have some proposals, and/or I could give a helping hand if needed. Mark my words that you would be surprised to what an extent when I say “a helping hand”.

    Christina I do believe you have access to my e-mail address. Please feel free to edit this message, delete it or just ignore it. Truth be told, I would be happy to know I can use your blog as an example of excellency.


  4. Congratulations Chistina for such a fantastic blog.

    It so happens that I have just started this week with some new groups of students. I had read about some of these games, but I am rather impressed with the selection you have made. These games are all top ten!!!.

    I must admit that regardless of the age, first day of class with a new group of students makes anyone nervous.

    As I said, great work and great blog. Keep it up!.


  5. Nice to hear from you ! I am aware that we are also sharing our pins on Pinterest. Have a nice comeback ,too!

  6. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I think I’m going to try some of them. By the way, I also feel like I have a bull (or 2) in my stomach no matter how long I’ve been teaching. Have a great come back 🙂

Comments are closed.