Welcome students and teachers Fall 2009

Most college and university teachers (and high school and elementary teachers) are busy preparing their materials because classes will start after labour day. We are busy making photocopies and planning and tweaking our lessons, estimating textbooks and all of the regular fun stuff we teachers get to do.

I can’t describe the excitement that fills me – except it might be as special as getting my driver’s licence. I always loved school. I always looked forward to the first day of school. It was fun shopping for supplies and all of that excitement occurs with each semester. It is exciting and awesome. I imagine that my colleagues feel the same.

I want to also be mindful of my students. The first year students will be nervous – excited and uncertain. This is a major life transition for them. They will not know where the bathrooms are, or where to buy their parking permits. They may get lost in the corridors searching for a room. They will wonder if the skills they have learned are enough for them to make it here in academia. Will they make friends?

1. I want to welcome them to the College/University and make them feel valued. I try to learn their names.

2.I give them some icebreakers. Most of them do not know their classmates and it gives them a chance to connect with their peers. Study groups and note taking backups are born here.

3. I want to assure them that they have the foundations, so I give them a diagnostic test and collect a writing sample. This helps me know if there are specific concerns, but also allows me to comment on their first attempt at college/university writing. Somehow it gives them confidence. It doesn’t count towards their grade but seeing a comment of good or well done lets them realize it is the same process they are used to.

Welcome students and teachers. I wish you the best this semester!

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