How to Connect with Your Students: 5 Tips for New Teachers

Being a teacher is easily one of the most rewarding, yet intimidating jobs in the world – rewarding in that you get to help young students grow and develop in an academic setting, intimidating in that you may not know how to connect with certain students on a meaningful level. After all, no two students are alike, and you never know what you’re going to get when fall term rolls around. 

On top of the regular challenges of connecting with students, we’re now living in a peculiar time brought on by the novel coronavirus. Whether you’re a brand new or seasoned teacher, educating and connecting with your students is harder than ever. That’s why we want to go over our favorite tips for new teachers (and veteran teachers!) – some of which you can apply to this unprecedented time, some of which you can use when the world goes back to normal. 

5 Tips for New Teachers & Seasoned Teachers Alike

1. Ask How Your Students Are Doing

No person – child or adult – enjoys feeling like another unimportant number on a list. Sure, you might not have every child’s name memorized come the first day of school, but make an effort to learn the names and small facts about each student. Though simple, hearing their name is a signal to students that they’re important to the classroom, which in turn creates a safe space for participation and learning.

Teaching online this year? The same rule applies. Welcome each student by name when they tune into the virtual classroom. Ask how their weekend was. Initiate small talk to ease their minds. Remember, this form of teaching is unusual for them, too!

2. Ask How Your Students Are Doing

We hate to use the word “interview,” but essentially, that’s what we’re hinting at. You are around your students almost as much as their parents/guardians are, so you should be aware of what’s going on in their lives. Rather than heavily focusing on the parent-teacher conferences coming up, focus on your students first. That way, you’ll have substantial talking points for those one-on-ones with the parents. 

You can conduct these interviews however you see fit. Make it fun if you can sense discomfort from a student! Whether it’s virtual or in person, simply ask them about themselves: 

  • What are their hobbies? 
  • What are they struggling with? 
  • Do they have friends in the class? 
  • Is your teaching style meshing with their learning style?

The list goes on. From there, you can take what you’ve learned and carry it into the classroom, making the experience better for both you and each student. 

Plus, sometimes it just feels nice to have someone take an interest in you. Once you’ve crossed that threshold with your students, they’ll be more eager to learn from you. 

3. Make It Known You’re Available to Talk

It’s great when you initiate conversation/interviews, but what about when your students want to come to you? We recommend holding regular office hours. You can hold them early before school starts or in the late afternoon – either way, be available.

Office hours might be more traditional for higher-level students, so if you’re teaching younger learners, let them know they can always come to you during recess or lunch. You’ll be surprised at how many students take advantage of the “open-door policy.” Whether they want to ask you specific questions about an assignment, want to ask about your interests, or simply need a safe haven for five or ten minutes, be there for your students!

Again, if you’re strictly teaching online, have a virtual sign-up sheet available. It’s even better if you can make it so their names remain anonymous because let’s be honest, no student likes admitting they need to chat with the teacher (which we don’t understand; teachers are the best!).


4. Attend Extracurricular Activities Your Students Are Involved in

One of our favorite tips for new teachers comes outside of regular school hours. Due to the circumstances, this may look different for every school. But if you can, attend activities featuring your students! Again, this will require time outside of your set teaching hours, but it shows your students you care. Think about all the time and effort they’ve poured into these activities; whether it’s a school play, a soccer game, a debate, or an art exhibit, show up and take an interest in their interests. 

This will speak volumes to who you are not only as their teacher but as a friend! If you feel uncomfortable attending by yourself, link up with a coworker whose students are involved in the same activity. 

5. Wear School Colors & Logos to Show Your School Spirit

Last but not least, show your school spirit! If you really want to connect with your students, show them you’re on the same “team.” You care about this school just as much as they do! Whether you’re repping school colors on game day or just a regular day in the classroom, your students will take notice and find it easier to connect with you. 

Show Your School Pride with 1st Place Spiritwear

Want to go above and beyond? Choose 1st Place Spiritwear for your go-to hoodies and t-shirts! By opting for unique alternatives to traditional spirit wear, you can choose from over 200 original designs. This will not only make you a “cool” teacher, but it might even spark up a conversation with your students about your original, high-quality spirit wear!

Whether you adopt one or all of these tips for new teachers, we hope you’re better able to connect with your students. Virtually or in person, it’s 100% possible to build meaningful teacher-student relationships. It just takes a little effort and of course, a little school spirit. 

Where to Find High School Apparel

Whether you’re just starting high school as a freshman or you’re a senior nearing graduation you’ll be looking to enter this school year with the right shirts, hoodies, and swag to show your school pride. While you may already have a few places in mind, this comprehensive list may help you find the high school spirit wear that perfectly matches your style.

School Bookstore

The first place many students look to shop for school spirit wear is the school bookstore. This can seem like a great option due to its convenience and location. However, it won’t take long to find out that the swag at school bookstores is both overpriced and overworn. If you’re looking to be original you’ll want to look beyond the bookstore. What you will soon find out is that the swag at school bookstores are overpriced and overworn.  You won’t be an original getting your gear at the school book stores.

Retailers Near You

Another convenient option is to look at retailers near you. Lots of big box stores have a few options for high school apparel at locations that are near schools. Retailers will competitively price their merchandise to try to beat book store prices; however, the selection at traditional retail stores is slim due to prioritizing all the other products they sell.

Sports Events

At high school sports events, there may be opportunities to buy school merchandise including t-shirts. This is especially true for special games against rivals or for events like homecoming. These shirts are usually only worn once and are a fun addition to that particular game. To find out if your school event will have shirts available talk to someone in student government on a game-by-game basis.


Like sports, many clubs like to have their own way of representing their activity in the school and community. Clubs like debate, FBLA, chess, or video games, might have special shirts they will order for their members once the club is organized. If the club you’re interested in joining doesn’t already have shirts, you may want to look at online stores like to get your club a unique school spirit shirt.

School Plays & Musicals

Shirts and merchandise are often sold during intermission at plays and musicals in high school. Shirts sold here are a way for students to help advertise their high school’s production and are also a fundraiser for the theater department. Buying a shirt at a play or musical is a fun way to show support for that specific production and department.

PTA Fundraisers

Often the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) will sell school merchandise as a fundraiser. You can usually find this high school apparel at events like parent-teacher conferences or PTA sponsored activities. The PTA may have some unique shirts you won’t find in the school book store or at a retailer. 1st Place Spiritwear has a way for PTAs to run a contactless fundraiser by selling school shirts online. If your PTA is interested in running this type of fundraiser, sign up here! A portion of each t-shirt sale will go directly to the PTA once your account is set up.

Buy Online at 1st Place Spiritwear

The best place to find unique high school apparel is at 1st Place Spiritwear. At 1st Place Spiritwear, you can browse over 150 designs featuring your school name, colors, and mascot. Choose from the coolest selection of school shirts, hoodies, and swag designed by some of the nation’s best graphic designers. The spiritwear you’ll find here will help you stand out in the crowd and help you be original. You’ll find shirts that look and feel great that will help you show off your school pride at school or wherever you go! Find your school here to start looking through the spirit wear you’ll actually want to wear! 

5 Best Ways to Show School Pride

As school starts back up this fall, many students are beginning to feel the stress of homework, quizzes, and exams. School can certainly be tough, but there is a way to make school much more exciting than just studying. Show your school pride! Whether you’re a new student, class president, or wild fan, we have five unique ways you can support your school and start showing more school pride!

1. Join a Sport or Club

Sports and clubs are one of the most important aspects of school pride. Without them, there would hardly be any school pride at all! Joining a school sports team is a great way to get more involved and support your school. The more involved you are at school, the longer you’ll spend on campus – all of which leads to more, you guessed it, school pride.

Not only will you increase your own school pride, but you’ll also likely have a positive effect on others! Joining your school’s swim team or marching band will give the students something to cheer for and look forward to! Others who know you will start attending games/meets to show support and from there, the school pride can only spread!

2. Go to Every Game

The difference between schools with and without school pride has little to do with how good the sports programs are that year and everything to do with students showing up to support their teams! School can get busy, and if you’re working you’ll have a lot on your plate in addition to your regular homework. We get it. However, if showing school spirit is important to you, carve out a couple of hours each week to go to your school’s games.

Your school will have multiple games/meets available to go to, so pick whichever ones interest you the most, or go to the ones your friends are playing in or attending. At your school’s sports games, you’ll also meet other students who are super fans. Their school spirit will rub off on you and vice versa! Also, make sure to wear the right colors to the game, or better yet, wear a school pride shirt!

3. Learn Your School Fight Song

This might be a no-brainer for students at some schools, but other schools may have fight songs that seem harder to memorize. If that’s the case for you, look up the lyrics of your fight song online and do your best to learn them! This will help you build school pride as you attend the different school events where your fight song is played. You can also help teach other students the song to make the fan section more energetic and powerful! Remember, there’s strength in numbers.

4. Use Social Media to Get Others Excited

Sometimes it feels like social media rules our world, so take advantage of it in this case! This is especially helpful for schools that don’t have a lot of spirit to begin with. You can start to change that among your peers and classmates. Get on social media and use it as a platform to hype people up! 

When you go to games or other events, you can live tweet some updates to your friends who didn’t attend. Utilize other apps for videos like SnapchatInstagram, and Facebook, so your friends can get a sense of the energy at the events. If you’re using any dating apps, you can plan dates to meet up at school events that are already planned and safe. All in all, social media is a great way to show school pride!

5. Rep Your School with 1st Place Spiritwear

Perhaps the most important way to show school pride is through wearing school colors, owning swag, and wearing school pride shirts! Your school will give out some free school swag, but if you’re ready to take your school pride to the next level, you’ll need some extra items! 

Here at 1st Place Spiritwear, we carry great options for thousands of schools in the US, offering unique school pride shirts and hoodies! Simply search for your school and check out our selection of perfect school apparel that you won’t find at your regular campus store. 

See? Going to school doesn’t have to be dull and stressful! You can have lots of fun while you’re in school, and showing your school pride is a great way to do it!

Start Showing More School Pride Today!