How you introduce yourself on the first day of class can set the tone for the semester. While you will want to create an open and welcoming atmosphere for serious learning, you will not want to imply that you and your students will be buddies. This can be a tricky line to negotiate. Here are a few tips that might help:

  • Write your name and contact information on the board (as well as in the syllabus). Before the first day of class, ponder the implications of your students addressing you by first name or last name. If they address you by your last name at the beginning of the semester, you can always invite them to use your first name later in the semester. It’s unlikely the reverse would work.

  • Provide your students with a brief summary of your professional background and interests. Telling them where you earned your undergraduate and graduate degrees, your research or dissertation focus, and work experience related to the course topic will help to establish your expertise in the discipline.

  • Briefly tell students how you have used certain skills that they will be learning in the course (e.g., writing, speaking, analyzing statistics, interviewing, or lab skills).