I'm thinking that they're often taken for granted. It's drilled into us as new teachers (and as pre-service teachers) about the importance of establishing rapport, procedures, and a routine with a new class the minute we meet. Its importance has never been more evident to me than when I took over 10 new piano students with two weeks left in the year. Another teacher was unable to finish out the year, and we have a recital next weekend. As the only teacher who either doesn't teach another night already, or doesn't have kiddos at home preventing me from being available another night, they asked if I could finish out the year with these kiddos. Now, there's a reason I have four students...I feel like I've been running the piano marathon! In addition to the unique situation, I've noticed how difficult it can be to sit down with a student for a half-hour and accomplish much without them knowing my routines, and without that rapport. We're doing okay, and we will all make it (confidently!) to the recital. Having said that, it's got me more nervous about summer-school's first days.
In summer-school, I'll be teaching 5th grade religious education. It's a great program that runs three hours a day in the summer versus all those late nights after school, after soccer, before dance, etc. during the school-year. I'm the newbie to the program, though, and I'm trying to decipher at what point is it more important for me to squeeze in three chapters the first day versus getting to know my kiddos? I think I know the answer, and I'll probably be over-planned, but that's always preferred.
Does anybody have fun get-to-know-you's geared toward summer...or God? I'm open to suggestions :)