Friday, September 11, 2015

Teacherscribe's Teaching Tip #4

The worst advice a first year teacher can ever get is the classic (classicly stupid, if you ask me) “don’t smile until November.”

I am convinced this is a recipe for failure.

Really, what sense does this make?

Do you like going in to a place of business and being treated that way?  What kind of culture or customer loyalty does that build?

This comes from the old school (and now, if you ask me, totally irrelevant) old-school approach to teaching where students had to fear their teachers way of teaching.

The problem with being a jerk to your students is that they will simply tune you out and disengage with you.

Then it’s a hell of an uphill batter.  Plus, you’ve started as a jerk, so how can you possibly hope to lighten up (around Christmas or so) when you’ve already lost your students?  That’s only going to piss you off more and make you an even bigger jerk.  Where is that going to lead you?  Out of the profession.  That’s where.

If you ask me - and this is what I tell my Teaching and Learning 250 students at UND - is to love the crap out of your kids . . . all year long.

That doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover.  You can still remain firm in your discipline and classroom expectations.  But love on those damn kids.  

Why doe Chick-Fil-A do so well?  Because they treat their customers with respect and care.  There are young people there who actually appear like they enjoy working there and want to be there (imagine that!).  There is a senior citizen who will grab an umbrella (if it’s raining) and walk you to your car.  The franchise is closed on Sundays because they believe in that.  

In other words, you can eat fast food without really feeling guilty about it (as I do every time I lug the kids to McDonald’s) or feeling like you’re eating fast food.

That’s why a Chick-Fil-A store will make at least a million more dollars per day than Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Burger King, even though Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays.  

It’s all about the customer experience.

What kind of experience are we as teachers offering our customers?

Being a first year teacher is hard enough, acting like a jerk to your kids isn’t going to get you anywhere.

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