As students enter your classroom, they already may perceive you a certain way. This could be based on reputation, their experiences if you have previously taught them, or even just by your name or gender!
These perceptions can immediately impact how students, and often parents, will respond to your relationship building. According to Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong, in The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher (Book & DVD), here are three welcoming techniques that you can do as a teacher, to improve student or parent perception of you.
- Send a letter home to parents before school begins.
- Send a letter home to each student before school begins.
- Visit the home of each student before school begins.
Obviously, these three strategies may not be viable, or even possible, based on your own teaching situation. At my middle school, I teach over 300 students, which makes letter writing (not to mention home visits) very difficult!
To solve this, teachers at my school send home a postcard to each student in our homeroom. This is an easy (only 20 or so postcards for each teacher), and viable way to allow every student in the school to know that the teachers are excited to see them, and to begin building relationships before school even begins.