We once heard of a teacher who dressed up in her best bell bottoms and discoed her way into her classroom on the first day with Gloria Gaynor blasting from the speakers. Elaborate, but memorable—and if you decide to go that route, please send us a video so we can post it on our Facebook page for all the world to see. Of course, there are plenty of creative ways to introduce yourself to students that don’t involve you squeezing into your 1970s pants or looking like a fool. Here are 10 fun ideas:
“Last year, I made an ‘ABC’ photo book on Shutterfly and included one thing about myself for each letter of the alphabet. (And yes, I really had to stretch to figure out ‘X’ and ‘Q.’) After reading it to my students on the first day of school, I left it in the classroom library. The kids read it over and over again throughout the year.” —Heidi James, fourth grade
“I took a picture of me playing fetch with my trusty golden retriever and sent it to each of my new students over the summer. On the back, I wrote a short note introducing myself and telling them how excited I was to have them in my class.” —James Carson, second grade
Share your favorites.
“I print out a list of my top 10 favorite novels and hand them out to my students on the first day of school. That way they get a taste of some of the literature we’ll be reading during the year and get to know a bit about me as well.” —Carla Harris, high school English
Give them a quiz.
“I give kids a fun quiz that says things like ‘Mrs. Scheuer has how many kids? Two, three, nine? Mrs. Scheuer’s favorite restuarant is: Applebees, Red Lobster, Lonnie’s Luncheonette, etc.’ They love when they get them correct.” —Karen Santucci-Scheuer, first grade
Make yourself a star.
“Every week during the year, one student is Star of the Week and they get to display a collage of their favorite things in the classroom. For the first week, I’m the star and my collage allows my students to get to know me.” —Judith Garcia, kindergarten
Let them piece it together.
“I give students a stack of primary documents from my life (letters, report cards, class pictures, etc.) with all the sensitive information blacked out. I ask the students to create a timeline from that information, hypothesize about what happened in the gaps, and draw conclusions about the kind of person they think I am.” —Phil Logan, eighth grade social studies
Play 20 Questions.
“I play 20 Questions on the first day of school and have my students guess things about me. It’s always a lot of fun. Unless some smart aleck middle schooler decides to guess that I’m 73 years old or something like that.” —Jennifer Jackson, seventh-grade social studies
Two truths and a lie.
“I throw out two truths and one lie about myself and have them guess which one isn’t true. Then I have the students do the same thing. We have all sorts of fun getting to know each other.” —Allison Hayfreid, fifth grade
“I know my students think of me as a bit of a geek (hey, what can I say, I’m a math teacher!) so I totally geek out for the first day of school. I wear a pi t-shirt and thick glasses and really play up the geeky math teacher thing.” —Greg Schultz, high school math
Get up and talk.
“I make Q and A’s on index cards about me. Then the students try to find a classmate that has the answer or question that matches the card they get. After they have partnered up, the person with the question reads it and then the partner that has the answer reads it to the rest of the class. For example: How many pets do I have? (One cat named Lenny).” —Lori Silviera, fourth grade
Beyond introducing yourself to students in the new school year, you have to introduce yourself to new colleagues and students have to introduce themselves to one another! Check out these ideas for icebreakers.