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How to keep the trust students have placed in you

  Having spent 15+ years running my own classroom, I have become well-versed in the aspects of community-building, collaborative rule-creation, and concise teacher-language which are the tenants of best practice in education. These foundations have become so integral to my teaching that they became a matter of course. What I have noticed since moving across the country and returning to Teaching on Call (that's substitute teaching), is that these foundations do not change. In other words, the way you interact with children does not change wherever you go. Kids are kids and you can trust them to act and act-out in developmentally predictable ways. And, schools are schools, that is to say that every school is bound to have a set of expectations that aim to reasonably protect student safety, require respect and encourage academic effort.
  What strikes me, which I seem to have taken for granted for the past 15 years, is the trust students give you. Maybe I hadn't taken it for granted...but, perhaps, running my own classroom, investing time and interest and effort in the students, I felt that I was EARNING it. As a new face in this district, I can honestly say that it strikes me as such a privilege, how the students have bestowed their trust in me. On the playground, little ones I have never met before approach me and ask for help, with only the virtue of my age and my orange vest to inspire this trust. In the classroom, groups of up to 30 students stop and listen because I have taught them a simple signal to indicate that I would like them to stop and listen. They are trusting that I have something important to tell them, and that I am a reasonable temporary replacement for their teacher.
  Now it my job to keep the trust students have so freely given. Here's how: I, too, follow school rules by showing everyone respect, working to support students' academic goals and enforcing rules that keep everyone safe. As a substitute teacher I can build community by learning students' names and asking them to teach me about the routines in their classroom. I can ensure safe and respectful interactions, and I can use teacher-language that guides students to make the right choices about their behaviour and their learning. One day soon, when I return to running my own classroom, I will appreciate the gift of students' trust. AND I will work to earn it. Every day.


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