August 10, 2007


"Never smile until December."

This has been a common, and quite frankly unsettling, phrase I have heard when I discuss my plans to become a teacher. It doesn't come from the non-educators; those that do not teach often stare at me with utter horror, and say things like "Why on God's green earth would you want to be a teacher?!?!?!?" and "How can you stand to be around all those kids?" ...while also commenting on the abject poverty my family will surely be forced to live in on my paltry salary.

But I've had several teachers, new-ish ones and seasoned veterans, tell me the Don't smile rule as if it's a holy mantra, the only way of surviving the 9th level of hell that is a classroom. Gee, enjoy your job? Maybe I'm naive, but, just like any other job, doesn't the worst day go by quicker and smoother if you smile once in a while and try to have a little fun? Even if it's only to find a speck of sanity-saving humor in an absurdly disastrous and depressing day, ya gotta try to crack at least one little smile. I know, they're just emphasising the importance of discipline, of setting the rules and establishing who's in charge. But I hope that isn't the reality of a classroom, because I think no matter how nervous and unsure I am my first day, or first month, or first several years, you won't be able to stop me from smiling.


Joel said...

I recently wrote about this. I do tend to be very strict, but I also smile frequently. I have lots of fun, and my kids do as well. It's miserable when you don't have fun with your job.

The challenge is finding out how to get control while not being mean or boring. That's the biggest fun I have with teaching. :)

Bloggrrl said...

Oh my gosh. Don't listen to those people! The only way I can get through each day is by smiling and laughing, and it makes my students feel happier too, which results in less of the sort of misbehavior that they tend to engage in when they despise the non-smiling teacher....