First Impressions, Not Second Chances

  • “A stunning first impression was not the same thing as love at first sight. But surely it was an invitation to consider the matter.” — Lois McMaster Bujold 

    It has been said that first impressions are lasting impressions. And this can be a particularly important thing for teachers to remember. First impressions are the key to how we perceive the world, and are perceived by it. They are our introductions to everything: acquaintances, the workplace, products, experiences, retail stores, the Internet, entertainment, relationships, design. And based on our first impressions, we judge things. 

    Body language and how a teacher presents him or herself from the start can make a positive first impression on students. That positive first impression allows a teacher to be a positive influence. It translates to a lasting impression of a positive caring teacher who is interested in helping the student be a success in life.  

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    What are first impressions?

    Positive results are based on presentation and feeling. They get results and create a positive impact.  

    Perhaps the best book on this subject is “Judge This” by Chipp Kidd, a designer. That Kidd is a designer is important. The art of design is based on positive impressions. Designers like Kidd can see things others can only feel and explain why it worked.  

    According to Kidd, first impressions are everything. They dictate whether something stands out, how we engage with it, whether we buy it, and how we feel. In his book, Kidd takes the reader through his day as he takes in first impressions of all kinds. The reader follows this visual journey as Kidd encounters and engages with everyday design, breaking down the good, the bad, the absurd, and the brilliant as only someone with a critical, trained eye can. “From the design of the morning paper to the subway ticket machine to the books you browse to the smartphone you use to the packaging for the chocolate bar you buy as an afternoon treat, Kidd reveals the hidden secrets behind each of the design choices, with a healthy dose of humor, expertise, and of course, judgment as he goes.”

    It is a valuable resource for teachers interested in furthering their professional development.

    In his book, Kidd proves that first impressions, whether we realize it or not, have a huge impact on the way we perceive the world.  


    How can teachers make a lasting impression?

    Teachers can achieve the desired result by following some simple rules and patterns that begin on the first day of class. A good first impression will lead to better classroom management.


    Teachers say that students won’t care about how much they will learn until they know they can trust the teacher. Smiling reinforces this trust. Sharing smiles equates to sharing successes. 

    Know your students

    Before a semester begins it is important, teachers say, to understand the students they are inheriting. This means finding out where students are academically. Knowing levels and grades will make differentiating the first few lessons a much easier experience, making sure that teachers can properly instruct their class from the word go. The students will respond positively to the challenge, teachers say, and it will help curb any bad behavior. 

    Practice your spiel

    Nerves can be a killer for new teachers. And students will jump on any sign of weakness. Teachers will become flustered and the first impression is not a good one. But practice makes perfect. Teachers need to know what you’re going to say, which will build confidence in the teacher and the students.