|Move over glee|
And yet this is something I probably would not have done just a few years ago. Teaching in inner city Los Angeles fresh out of college, I was instructed not to smile until Thanksgiving. I was told that within each class there is a power struggle where the teacher must assert themselves and demand respect by being strict, tough, and ruthless. This was not my principal but rather a grad school instructor. Based on these instructions, dressing up like a cheerleader and embarrassing oneself in front of your students would be a death sentence. As I clung to this advice, I had students who would sit quietly and obey orders, but I did not have students who were willing to buy into me as a teacher. Later that year, I coached the 8th grade basketball team and I started to develop bonds with students. I came to realize that it is these bonds that help drive relationships and respect in the classroom. In my brief experience as an educator, I have come to the conclusion that students are much more likely to respect you if they know you. Any respect that you need is build upon a mutual relationship and it is very hard to nurture a relationship without a smile. So why not go out and embarass yourself. My students may not ever remember my "lesson of the year", but they will remember the time Mr. M did the Spartan Cheerleader.