The following list is in random order, allowing the reader to create opinions easily and to glean any wisdom quickly.
1. Be a model. It’s you. Yes, your students are looking at you. Your words and your actions make a difference. Years from now, they will remember that you loved history, or rang a little bell on your desk, or always smelled good, or ripped up a student’s drawing book, or got mad fast, or got off the topic because of current event questions, or made the fashion mistake of wearing suspenders during the early ’90s.
2. Don’t jump into the class discussion. Before a whole-class discussion, have students share their answers with their partners and collect other student ideas. This new list makes sharing safer.
3. Accept correction with grace. Sometimes your math is miscalculated on the board. Sometimes you say the wrong word. Acknowledge the mistake. Laugh about it with the students and go on.
4. Explore the outdoors. Make them see creation. Take a seasonal walk. Create “creation celebration” artwork. Use digital photography on a hike and share with the school what you saw. Breathe the fresh air and share a common experience in God’s creation outside of your classroom.
5. Have lunch with your students. Make lunchtime an opportunity to sit with them. Share stories and jokes and be together.
6. Pray hard for your students, for your time with them, for your colleagues in the next room, and for school unity. Let them know you are praying for them. Publicly pray for a student every day. Ask parents and students to pray as well.
7. Put work into your pedagogy. What are you doing besides the question sheet and reading? Don’t tell them, but show them that you’ve put a lot of thought and effort into the work that you do. They get the best of what you do.
8. Know that sometimes the question sheet and the reading is the right thing to do. Sometimes your lesson will fall flat. That great lesson won’t work for a class one year. Sometimes you have to be quiet. Let the kids do the reading and go on. It might be that you need a break from them, and they need a break from you.