First Impressions in the classroom


Today marks the first week of the Winter 2016 semester here in the School of Business at BCIT. For me, this means that I will be meeting over 70 students this week who I will guide through studies on Strategic Online Marketing and Public Relations.

As an instructor with the desire to start out on the right foot, an article posted to the VCC School of Instructor FaceBook page on January 5th titled “First Impressions: Activities for the First Day of Class” by Betty Anne Buirs, PhD, caught my attention.

Will Rogers is famous for saying, “You will never get s second chance to make a first impression” and I believe he is right.

Buirs gives two simple guidelines for creating success on the first day: arrive early and have the students work in pairs on a learning activity, right away. I chose to apply both of these best practices today.

First, I arrived early and had the chance to get set up my classroom and get prepared and organized before any of my students arrived. I also had time to grab a cup of coffee!

Being prepared allowed me to relax and personally greet each and every student as they walked in the door. This initial greeting was appreciated by students who seemed pleased to be acknowledged. It also set a warm and welcoming tone for the class.

“Students are never more attentive than they are on the first day of class, when they’re eager to determine what kind of professor they’re dealing with, and although it is tempting to delay the real work of teaching and learning until the class list has stabilized, it can be difficult to change even the subtle norms that are established during this initial class” (2016, Buirs).

Knowing that students are eager to learn – and to embrace this fact -I conducted an ice breaker introduction, gave a quick overview of the course schedule, evaluation and assessment and jumped right in to the course material. I followed the BOPPS format of mini-lesson cycles and taught the students about two major concepts.

The second piece of advice given by Buirs is to encourage students to work in pairs to complete an activity. As such, students were paired up to work on a simple task, which they then presented to the class. This established an expectation of class participation, which will be the norm for the semester.

All-in-all, I had a great day today, and feedback from the students was also positive. A win-win for everyone. A big  thank you to Betty Anne Buirs and the VCC School of Instructor Education for setting me up for success.

Buirs, B., PhD. (2016, January 04). First Impressions: Activities for the First Day of Class. Retrieved January 12, 2016, from

Weimer, M., PHD. (2015, August 19). The First Day of Class: A Once-a-Semester Opportunity. Retrieved January 12, 2016, from


About robincookbondy

My name is Robin Cook Bondy and I live in Ladner, BC with my husband and three sons. I am a communications and public relations professional pursuing further education in the area of adult learning.
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