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Dr. Dianna Lindsay's picture
After 43 years in my chosen profession, I remain excited, alive, and learning! From an active Twitter Account to blogging, from teaching Constitutional Law to Pre-AP English, from a national winner...
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Time: Spend It Building Community First

Time is a currency of teachers; spend it on building community! Building any community is centered around the idea of shared common visions and shared story telling. Tell your story to your students in simple ways that can transform learning and create teams of learners. Start small to create your shared classroom legends and legacies.

  1. 1. Each student has a story; help share the story by telling your vision first. "I am here because I purposely applied for a position in XYZ High. I heard about this place while I was in college.and thought I might be a good fit for the school based on my likes and talents. I am so excited to be here with you and I am looking forward to our journey this year! My family is proud of me and I want you to be proud of our growth this year."
  1. 2. Share your story as a reason why you are a teacher; inspire confidence in your dream by being idealistic. "I am a teacher because it is all I have every dreamed of being; I love working with students and want each of you to succeed as I have done. I hope to work hard for you and promise to do my best everyday for you. This is far more than a job to me; it is my dream come true!"
  2. 3. Embrace your goals for the year as one of your first conversations with students; no one wants to hear another list of rules on the first day! Place your ideals in context of how you will get to what you dream for students by first being prepared for class. "I commit to being prepared and expect the same from you as partners in this learning process. This is important work and together we will make you successful. I have expectations for you and for myself as you will read in my syllabus." For every rule you have for students, have a parallel rule for yourself; model commitment.
  3. 4. Describe the journey for the year; explain how you will use your ambition to get them moving forward. "I am good at grammar; I am a grammar nerd and I love it! This year my goal on this journey is to teach you how to be a good writer and to get some of you published, all of you will improve your writing, and all of you will be more confident as writers. You can do this with me and I am here to helpyou!"
  4. 5. Invite students to complete an open writing;on a 3 x 5 note card, ask students to share with you only their goals for the year. Make this personal; don't share with the class and use it as a time for a personal conversation. "On this note card, tell me what you dream for this year and let me know what you need from me to be successful. This is personal; only I will read it. I am here to help you succeed but I need to know what you want."
  5. 6. Stay focused on building a safe community; clearly state and act so no this class is free of "put-me-downs", "let-me-downs", or "downers"! Make your classroom culture safe, inviting, and inclusive by what you say and model!