Don't even smile before Christmas.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Galois, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Galois

    Galois Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2012

    It looks like there are two schools of thought on this one. I just heard it from a principal in one of my interviews. Books like "First Days of School" states that you should welcome your students with a smile as they enter your classroom. Up to now, I still don't understand this saying.

    Of course, if you have worked in your school for quite some time, have a track record, and have gained the respect of the students, you can probably smile all day. What about those, like myself, who are just beginning their teaching careers? Some students may take advantage of your smiling demeanor. Is it not better for students to gain your respect or please you before you even smile? There is no arguing that gaining the students' respect requires a lot of things.

    What's your take on this one? Are there merits to this statement or none at all? If you were a new teacher, would you adhere to this dictum? Why not? An author even suggested to wear a different personality when you enter your classroom. Thanks in advance to all your inputs.
     
  2.  
  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Jul 19, 2012

    I've never agreed with that advice. You can manage a classroom by creating a proactive community in which expectations, rules and procedures are clearly communicated. I want students to feel connected, capable and contributing...not afraid of or unsure of a non-smiling teacher. You can be firm and still be approachable. Here's my smiling face: :).
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 19, 2012

    Smile!

    Why do people think that to be respected to have to be stern?
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 19, 2012

    I smile and laugh a lot from the first day because that's my personality. The kids, people, will respect you if you are consistent, fair, kind and you know your subject matter. It's really that simple.
     
  6. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2012

    I don't think I could not greet the kids with a smile if I tried :lol: In my class last year it became a running gag that I simply cannot keep a straight face, even when I'm truly angry (I have an issue where if I think to myself that I shouldn't smile in a situation, I automatically do. Makes looking innocent very difficult, even if I am). lol

    Back when I was a sub, a student said to me one day: "You know what I like about you Miss ___? You're always smiling." That really stuck with me. So many students come from homes with absent, angry or depressed parents. Your smile may be the only one they get that day.

    Personally, I'd much rather have my students behave and do their work because we get along and they respect me through getting to know and trust me, not because they're afraid.
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,584
    Likes Received:
    1,700

    Jul 19, 2012

    It's impossible for me not to smile. I love what I'm doing! You might want to start looking into some ideas for classroom management now so you can have a set system in place. I'm a huge advocate of Love and Logic (one of the few that work for distance learning) while others subscribe to Whole Brain Teaching. Find one that makes you happy and your classroom effective.
     
  8. KateL

    KateL Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jul 19, 2012

    I always smile as well. However, I do agree that you should put on a different personality in the classroom. I don't use my "teacher" personality at home with my husband. I don't use my "friend" personality in the classroom with my students. You need an air of authority in the classroom that would be inappropriate in friend or spouse situations.
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,061
    Likes Received:
    538

    Jul 19, 2012

    :rolleyes:

    I am so tired of this advice. If I didn't greet my little first graders with a smile every day they would be scared to come into the room. That doesn't mean I'm not firm and consistent, but there is a lot to be said for making your students feel comfortable. :haha:
     
  10. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,292
    Likes Received:
    122

    Jul 19, 2012

    I didn't come into my own as a teacher until I decided to embrace who I am instead of trying to be "teacherly." I'm motherly. I call my students Sweetie and Dear and My Darling (well, that's partly because of my horrible memory for names) and my persona is very warm. However, mothers are also rule enforcers. I smile, but I also use "the look." That's something you have to practice!
     
  11. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,372
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2012

    I've never met someone who follows that advice who is not miserable.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 19, 2012

    I don't have the energy to have separate personalities. I suppose there is some adjustment according to "audience", but overall I feel I am genuinely the same no matter the location.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 19, 2012

    I'm pretty just "ME" from day 1 to day 180.

    I set the tone right away... we start math that first day, and they get homework. They get a quiz on day # 3. We work bell to bell, Monday to Friday.

    But we laugh a lot along the way as well.

    My policies also are in keeping with the fact that my kids have a life outside my class.

    I think that consistency is a far better thing to aim for than meanness,
     
  14. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 19, 2012

    Smile!
    I find being myself allows the students to feel they can be themselves too. We learn from each other every day!
     
  15. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2012

    To paint a broader picture, I think it's about being professional and acting appropriately for the situation. Most of the time, there's no reason not to smile. But teachers can also turn on "the look" when needed. Teachers need to be flexible. Can you imagine trying to live by the no-smile rule for half the year (or even less)? What a waste of energy!
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,070
    Likes Received:
    1,886

    Jul 19, 2012

    There's no way I could go until Christmas without smiling; I couldn't even make it through the first 5 minutes of the day. I love what I do and like to be with my students. My enjoyment shines through!
     
  17. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,513
    Likes Received:
    15

    Jul 19, 2012

    What Band wrote, to a T.
     
  18. teachsph2008

    teachsph2008 Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    10

    Jul 19, 2012

    I greet my students every morning with a smile, even those days they enter glaring at me.
     
  19. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,876
    Likes Received:
    229

    Jul 19, 2012

    I've always heard this advice but have never taken it. I certainly don't think it's applicable for first grade. Especially the first day! They come in so scared and need to be comforted and feel safe. Being friendly and smiling doesn't mean that you can't be firm. If you are clear, consistent, and fair with your expectations and consequences, then that's all that really matters.
     
  20. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 19, 2012

    I do not, for one second, believe that smiling = poor classroom management - as this advice seems to imply.
     
  21. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    1,494

    Jul 19, 2012

    Exactly!!! :yeahthat:
     
  22. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2012

    Smile! First, as others have said YOU will be happier and that will certainly translate to happier kids and a better learning environment. Brain research tells us that when kids are experiencing negative emotions- sadness, frustration, fear, anxiety or boredom- the systems of their brain do not allow for the assimilation of the information you are trying to give them. Smile to put them at ease, show them you care, and get them ready to learn.
     
  23. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,653
    Likes Received:
    233

    Jul 20, 2012

    One of the other teachers on my team told me that her student said her friend has "the happy teacher," referring to me. This was the third or so day of school. I can't imagine not smiling from the moment I met my little firsties - we have FUN together, but they know I am the teacher and that there are definite boundaries for behavior!
     
  24. Galois

    Galois Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2012

    :)Again, thanks to all your inputs. It's enlightening to know that I can just be myself so long as I am competent, consistent and caring - the same three words I used to answer when asked by the interviewers as to what are the qualities of a good teacher.

    I can finally bury this statement six feet below the ground.
     
  25. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    6,037
    Likes Received:
    1,518

    Jul 20, 2012

    That's always been one of the strangest pieces of advice.

    The kids respond much better to me when they know that I'm happy to be there and glad to see them. My level of pleasantness isn't tied in any way to my ability to control a classroom. I'm very non-nonsense and like things just so . . . but I'm not going to be a PITA to them to have it that way.
     
  26. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    624
    Likes Received:
    159

    Jul 20, 2012

    I think those of you who are taking this advice literally are missing the point.

    What this saying is intended to convey is that it's easier to start serious and then loosen up than it is to start loose and then get serious. And keep in mind that it's usually a piece of advice given to new teachers, not established vets. Some people can come in and own a room with a big smile on their faces. Maybe you were one of the brand new teachers who could do the same, but the vast majority who try to be too nice that first year have to try to rein in their classes later, which is difficult.
     
  27. Galois

    Galois Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2012

    Finally, someone has a different spin on this advice. I was waiting for this one, but nobody did. Thank you for this point of view. As I mentioned earlier, it is tough for new teachers to be smiling and can be taken advantage by students who will think that this new teacher is a pushover. I agree that it is different with veteran teachers who have track records.
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 20, 2012

    I don't think anyone really took it literally.

    But I meant what I said. I don't start off tough and then loosen up. I start off as me, and stay the same way. My demeanor tends to be more or less the same throughout the year. The only real difference is that, once I know the kids a bit more, they know where those "lines in the sand" are.
     
  29. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,070
    Likes Received:
    1,886

    Jul 20, 2012

    :yeahthat:
     
  30. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 20, 2012

    Exactly, Alice! I have my boundaries, and they aren't moveable! My expectations are the same from the first to last day, and the way I treat my students is the same also.
     
  31. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,964
    Likes Received:
    1,157

    Jul 20, 2012

    I agree with this.
    I think this also would apply more in middle or high school, and definitely for newer teachers, or teachers in a new assignment.
    During the first few days / weeks students always try to size up the teacher, what they can get away with, how it's gonna be, etc. And it's definitely true to it's best to start off firm, and then loosen up, then start up very friendly and then try to tighten things up.

    Some people can have a friendly and cheerful demeanor and still be firm and strict - that's great! But as a sub, or as a (new) teacher starting off a new year I would rather have on a "let's get down to business" face.
    During my short experience, especially as a sub, in a different classroom every day, I have learned that starting off without smiling, with a serious face significantly increased my chances of classroom management. Sure, we had fun later on, but only after the students realized that they must do what I ask them to do, and after that we could relax a bit.

    Now that I'm finished at my long term assignment, I'm subbing at 2 juvie lock ups. One is the same place where I used to be, so I know most of the students. They come in the classroom, and I know they're thinking: "how is it gonna be? Is she gonna be strict like before, or now that she's subbing she won't care and will be cool? Can we get away with stuff we do with the other subs?"
    So I stand there with a straight face, wait until they all look at me, and say 'good morning". if they don't repeat, I say it again. I ask them to sit up straight, etc etc. I might tell them it's nice to see them again, etc, but it's with a straight face. During this first few minutes, they realize that nothing changed, I'm still all about business and no goofing around and disrespect will be tolerated.
    I know, I just KNOW, if I came in smiling and laughing, they would act very differently.

    At the other lock up the kids are younger by a few years, but it makes a big difference. More squirmish, giggly and immature (and these also boys). They look at me with wide eyed admiration, and I just love them, but if I showed my smily face during the first few minutes, they would take it for weakness.
     
  32. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,964
    Likes Received:
    1,157

    Jul 20, 2012

    I think if you are at the same school year after year, you can just be 'you'. It's because let's say you teach 4th grade, you have a reputation as good teacher, someone that cares about the students, you all have fun but get things done, and the students respect you and know you're in charge. By the time the next year comes, and you get your new 4th graders, you all are new to each other, but they've seen you last year as 3rd graders, and know of your reputation. So you don't have to be all tough.

    But I think, for new teachers, subs, or for even somewhat experienced teachers with classroom control issues it's a safe policy to start off a little more serious.
     
  33. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,171
    Likes Received:
    178

    Jul 20, 2012

    Smiling or "Don't smile until Xmas" are not so much about facial tone as they are about a teacher's ability to structure the class for learning. Vision often conjured up is the green teacher overly concerned with being liked and in bonding mode. Most posts to this site concerning classroom management generally have some sort of statement which expresses being too lenient at the beginning, then having to put the brakes on and start over.

    For sure, veteran teachers establish a rep. Whether that rep is for real will be determined the first few minutes of the school year. Students are not fools. They can spot a fake by the way the teacher structures entering the room. Some teachers (vet and new) greet students at the door, shake hands (with a smile!) and give them something to do. Reality will establish (within seconds) whether this person is a push-over or the "teacher".
     
  34. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    47

    Jul 20, 2012

    The cat's name from 'Anne Frank' always cracked me up, Mouschi, I think it was. Then some of the children would repeat it, and I would laugh some more. You have to laugh or you'll cry with all the crap going on in the system.
     
  35. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Jul 20, 2012

    There's just something wrong here, milsey,There's nothing to laugh about...
     
  36. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    624
    Likes Received:
    159

    Jul 20, 2012

    Well, I think you're wrong. Maybe you didn't take it literally, but there are quite a few posts where it's obvious they were taking it literally--as in, smiling and laughing.

     
  37. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    6,037
    Likes Received:
    1,518

    Jul 20, 2012

    :agreed:

    I'm basically the same on the first day of school as I am on the last day of school.
     
  38. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 21, 2012

    Wow, I didn't think it was important enough to warrant such backup:rolleyes:.

    OK, then I stand corrected. Apparently I was wrong. I didn't take the original statement literally. Apparently some other people did, as is illustrated by the 4 quotes provided to show that I was wrong.

    Well, now that THAT'S settled, can we get back to the discussion of how best to set the tone for a classroom?
     
  39. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,372
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 21, 2012

    And to think, all they had to do to disprove for your claim was find one counterexample....overachievers :D
     
  40. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    624
    Likes Received:
    159

    Jul 21, 2012

    How to set the tone was the very discussion I was having until your reply, which basically attempted to negate my entire post by saying that no one took it literally when they obviously were. I knew you didn't take it literally, so why try to claim that no one did? Why not just speak for yourself? But I'm glad you see now that you were wrong about that.

    And now, back to the discussion at hand.
     
  41. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 21, 2012

    In my single, solitary opinion, speaking only for myself, You've got to be kidding!!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 195 (members: 2, guests: 171, robots: 22)
test