Getting to know your students


​​Using the teacher orientation checklists​ will help you get ready for your first day with your students.

The first school day of the year is a major milestone for you and your students - the way you approach it is essential to your success. The first contact you have with your students is an opportunity for you to build relationships and set the tone for the rest of the year - plan it well!

First day

Plan your students' first day

Have some meaningful, enjoyable tasks planned for students to do on their first day back at school. Over prepare - it's better to have too many activities planned while you determine the ability levels of students.

Be organised and welcoming - first impressions count! Take the time to get to know your students and establish classroom expectations. This can ultimately save you teaching time. Get to know what your students' already know and what they're interested in.

Throughout your first day:

  • Get to know the names of your students.
  • Discuss class expectations with students.
  • Facilitate getting-to-know-you and trust-building exercises to build cohesiveness between all class members and discover their interests.
  • Organise student stationery and textbooks.
  • Discuss classroom organisation.
  • Negotiate classroom rules.

Hints - primary

It's a good idea to complete the following tasks to ensure that your primary classroom is prepared for a great year:

  • Create storage for student books and shared items.
  • Buy supplies of whiteboard equipment.
  • Collect supplies of spare stationery such as pencils and pads.
  • Set up desks and chairs, including two spares for any new students.
  • Set up computers, ensuring that they are all working and can print, and that you know how to log in.
  • Gather art gear such as paper, easel and markers.
  • Borrow library books for your unit and books for reading.
  • Choose some books to read to the class.
  • Collect the mathematics equipment that you will need.

Hints - secondary

You will need to be mindful of the age of your students when it comes to establishing your classroom expectations - be flexible.

Students in Years 11 and 12 will be very familiar with the school rules, while for students in Year 7, these will be completely new. Make the effort to continually reinforce these rules.

First week

Your aim in the first week is to determine the skills, abilities and interests of your students. Review student files in OneSchool; or data profiles to guide your own data collection during the first week. It is important to over-plan during this early phase of the year - it's always better to have too many activities planned than not enough. In the first week of school, try to include the following activities to assist your understanding of your students:

  • problem solving
  • maths investigations
  • opportunities for reading and comprehension
  • opportunities to collect samples of students' writing
  • activities that enable you to get to know students
  • spelling
  • team or cooperative games
  • the introduction of a topic or unit of work
  • explicit expectations in relation to homework programs, such as spelling and reading.

You will also need to familiarise your students with the content you'll be covering throughout the year. Tell them about the first unit of work, and explain your expectations about their use of a student diary, homework and assessment.


Write a newsletter to send home to parents during the first week; introduce yourself and explain how you envisage the year unfolding in terms of their child's education.

Last updated 13 November 2020