First, I smiled. You can be strict without being mean. To get students invested in your class, which is essential, you need to show them you care. Attend sporting events, write notes, and ask students about their lives. Second, I selectively listened to advice. Not all suggestions will work with your teaching style or your values. Implement what you believe in and skip what you don’t. Lastly, I used the power of food. It is important to build relationships not just with your students, but fellow teachers, staff and administration. Whether it is a thank you note or breakfast at a meeting, simple gestures go a long way to get students at tutoring or help with your attendance. Your school is your community and you want to be a positive part of it.
2. If you don’t believe it, don’t do it. You will be overwhelmed with suggestions for things to implement in your class. From your school courses, to administration, to fellow teachers, everyone has an idea. Listen, reflect on the advice, and think about how they are trying to help your classroom, but ultimately trust your ideas. My best lesson and class structures were ones that I believe in. I was told to introduce a stop light noise level system at the beginning of my first year. After a week of implementation, I had zero by in from my class because I didn’t buy in. Since then I have realized the importance in believing in everything you do as a teacher. Make your class yours from how it looks to what you do.
3. My last piece of advice is food. For me, food was not only a way to create incentives in my classroom from tutoring to class participation, but a way to create relationships with the staff at my school. Fellow teachers, administration, and staff are equally as important to build relationships with as your students. Get to know the staff at the front office, the janitors, the veteran teachers, and of course your administration. Write thank you notes when people do you a favor, bring breakfast for a meeting, and take the time to talk to people in the building. Beyond the selfish reason of you never know when you may need a favor, it’s important to be a part of the community you will be spending most of your time with.