A case discussion class is not merely an intellectual exercise, but also an emotional and interpersonal experience that requires trust and collaboration. To develop and reinforce an effective case learning environment, instructors should arrive early to the classroom before every session, at least ten minutes prior to the scheduled start of class. This practice helps support the instructor's transition from planning to execution, enhances the instructor's relationship with students, and provides time to prepare the physical environment of the classroom.
An early arrival allows the instructor to move psychologically and emotionally from the self-focused nature of the teaching plan ("this is what I am going to do") and concerns about teaching performance ("how well am I going to do?"), to become immersed in, and connected to, the collective energy of the class.
The additional time also strengthens the relationship with students. It sends a powerful signal that the instructor truly cares for the students as individuals, not anonymous members of the class. Talking informally with participants, instructors get to know them better and have the opportunity to sense where they are in their hearts and minds on that particular day.
From a practical perspective, early arrival makes it possible to attend to the physical environment of the classroom. Pre-class preparation may involve organizing notes and papers for easy reference, setting up videos or other resources, checking classroom equipment, and perhaps pre-setting one or more boards with information the instructor would prefer to record in advance. By allowing ample time for these activities, the instructor can avoid delaying the start of class or interrupting the flow of the session to attend to logistical distractions.