Students’ first-day experience counts

Goodbye summer holidays and welcome back to school for all teachers and students. Days of stress and hard work are back not only for teachers and students, but also the parents. On the first day, teachers become more stressed, welcoming students and getting them ready for the new academic year. However, students’ feelings are mixed. On one side, they are excited that are coming back to the school. On the other, they are sad that holidays are over. However, it’s a matter of time before each one of them settles down and gets familiarised with what’s going on at school.
For students, the first day of school is quite similar to first day of Eid: celebrating the occasion with family, friends and new classmates. They are all happy and enthused, putting on new clothes and sharing the day’s feelings of delight.
Students share greetings with one another as well as with their teachers. The first day marks one of the greatest memories for students. On the other hand, some students are nervous and possibly scared. This can happen especially for first grade students. It might also happen to students who have moved from one school to another or from the elementary to secondary school.
Having new teachers, new friends and maybe a new school can be a nightmare for them, but these concerns remain only for a few days.
These are some of the common incidents or observations teachers might come across on the first day. Therefore, the school managements and teachers need to be ready for such situations where students need special attention.
Schools could introduce a special orientation programme to welcome the first grade students. Teachers play a key role in giving students a better impression about schools and the learning. The first day, in particular, is the right time for teachers to create a good impression in students while welcoming them to school.
As they say, the first impression counts. Then, students will create their own understanding of what’s happening inside the school.
Some schools hold a special welcome for the first graders. It’s a very interesting idea to draw students’ attention and make them like coming to school. Having such celebrations on the first day at school will definitely allow students to like their school and the teachers.
It also gives them an opportunity to mingle with their classmates as the ‘welcome to school’ celebrations take a full day or perhaps days. This could take a full week, which would include orientation programmes and activities, in which students would be introduced to the school’s facilities and teachers.
In order to improve the experience for students, the way of welcoming them and introducing them on the first day should be really different than the traditional ways that students are used to.
Every year, the first day at school should be different as that will give an extraordinary impression to students every year. If such practices are implemented even for students of higher grades, then they will be more encouraged to go to school as this experience will change their perception about learning, not just about schools and teachers.
As a matter of fact, the change in routine at schools is all what students and parents look for in order to lift up the learning experience for schoolchildren.
Schools and teachers need to think out of the box to drive the learning journey. Parents could also be involved in this improvement process so that they could give our students a better experience all the time.

Abdulaziz Al Jahdhami