Today was the first day of school for my daughters (1st and 2nd grade). When I asked how their first day went my youngest, Kelly, gave an ethusiastic nod and said:
Good! My teacher is nice! She’s so, so, so nice. I’m so happy to be in her class.
There you have it. What matters to students that first day? That their teacher cares.
The advice given to me on my first day of teaching by many a teacher was “don’t smile until April or the kids will walk all over you.” That advice, ignored on my part, was crap. Kids respond to teachers who care.