“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”  – James Uleman, PhD

We’re continuously told to not “judge a book by its cover,” but unfortunately, it’s human nature to do so every day. We immediately form inferences based on each other’s appearances, attitude, and verbal words which can affect our lifelong views on each other. With the first day of school coming up in a couple days, it’s important to think about making good impressions on your teachers. A solid first impression on your teacher can go long ways to a smooth school year. What are some ways to make a good impression on your teachers?

1. Appearance and Body Language

In a research conducted by sociolinguist Albert Mehrabian, 55% of first impressions from face to face interactions come from outward appearances and body language. As opposed to revealing or disheveled clothes, a neat and conservative dress generally communicates responsibility and reliability. In terms of body language, straight, upright posture projects confidence. Additionally, remember to smile to make yourself seem comfortable and approachable to your teacher.

2. Introduction to Your Teacher

In a class with many students, it is important to leave a lasting impression on your teacher. Introduce yourself to the teacher at first opportunity, and employ strategies to differentiate yourself from the crowd such as offering a fun fact for the teacher to remember you by. Present yourself in a definite and welcoming way. An April 2011 issue of Social Influence suggested shaking hands firmly as a limp handshake may seem overly passive while a strong handshake communicates confidence.

PC: Irene Sung

3. Participate in Class Discussions

Another way to stand out to your teacher is to participate during class discussions. Many people are usually shy or unwilling to participate on their first week of school, so take this opportunity to shine! However, some teachers may find too much participation annoying, so try to find a balance between participating too much and too little as well as making sure you keep your conversation topics relevant to the classroom atmosphere.

If you’re introverted and find class participation intimidating, try approaching the teacher after class with a well thought out question that reaches beyond the topic you’re studying. This is especially useful if you do it on the first day of school since it helps you interact with the teacher directly.

4. Show respect

There are some basic rules to keep in mind during your classes that are implied but are important. Show respect to the teacher by keeping a positive attitude during class even though you may be tired. Additionally, get rid of all the distractions around you. Put your phone away and don’t talk with other students! If you are caught talking to other students, apologize personally to them after class and ensure them that it will never happen again. Follow the instructions carefully and complete all tasks on time. Be attentive, especially in classes that tend to be more student-led and places the teacher at a lower priority. Even little things can build up to embellish your reputation.