Graduation rehearsals allow students to get a feel for the ceremony and coordinate with faculty. By the end of a successful rehearsal, you should know exactly what to expect on graduation day. In this guide, we share how to make the most of your commencement rehearsals so that you are well-prepared.
Typically, a commencement rehearsal takes around 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size of the graduating class. It’s important for students and new teachers to stay for the entire rehearsal so that they don’t miss anything. For example, students don’t want to leave before the graduation coordinator tells you how to receive their diplomas. Typically, the ceremony is rehearsed from start to finish, so everyone should be present at every stage.
Around the time of rehearsal, every student should receive a graduate information card. This card allows students to write out their names phonetically so that they’re pronounced correctly on stage. If a student has an uncommon or hard-to-pronounce name, this is your moment to avoid potential embarrassment. Don’t forget to have students fill the card out and give it to the graduation coordinator!
During rehearsal, you should practice the entire ceremony a couple of times until it becomes second nature. Watch as students walk down the aisles, across the stage, and back to your seat. Make sure they are getting comfortable with the venue layout. Your school should host its rehearsal in the same venue where graduation takes place. However, students’ seats at rehearsal might not be the same at commencement. This is because more students will probably be attending the ceremony. What is important is that students get a lay of the land so they are comfortable when called onstage.
Throughout the rehearsal process, there will be at least one graduation coordinator guiding students along. They want to ease students’ nerves and offer credible information, so make sure students listen to them! For example, receiving one’s diploma can be the most confusing part of the ceremony. The graduation coordinator will teach students how to take the diploma with one hand, and then shake the administrator’s hand in one fluid motion. Likewise, you should teach the correct direction to walk offstage, so that you don’t cause a traffic jam. And if a student doesn’t understand a step, just kindly have the coordinator to repeat it.