In anticipation of the Spring semester—and as part of an ongoing effort to combat the tyranny of what Tattooed Professor Kevin Gannon calls  “Syllabus Day“—we asked some GC faculty and staff to share their favorite first-day-of-class activities. We’ve published their responses as part of the inaugural installment of our Teach@CUNY series, which aims to highlight specific instructional approaches, assignments, and resources being used (or which could potentially be used) in CUNY classrooms. Please use the comments section to share more ideas about ways instructors might use their first class meetings, or to let us know you used one of these ideas—and to tell us how it went!

As instructors, we also think it’s worth remembering that even the best-laid lesson plans can—and sometimes, should—get overridden, and that a reliable guarantee of a successful Day 1 is to be responsive to the conditions and the students on the ground. That’s always true, but maybe especially so in these challenging and uncertain times. To remind us why it’s important that teachers remain vigilant, we wanted to share this Georgia State student’s account of his first day.