While I can’t put my finger on the exact reasons, I can usually determine immediately if my class is well-behaved and welcoming. Maybe it’s the way some students will say hi or wave at me when I enter. Or maybe it’s the response I get when I say, “Hello everyone!”

In some ways, I’m inclined to believe that it is the nature of my greeting that sets the tone. Another alternative is that the majority of my students are inherently kind and once they see that I’m of the same persuasion, they behave accordingly. Most likely, it’s both.

Monday was a great example. My duty began at 12:30 and when I entered the classroom, third graders were staring at their Chromebooks. The lady watching them introduced me and three or four students waved a greeting. We engaged in brief conversation and as always, I have one or two students determined to provide directions for the rest of the day’s events.

But it’s all done with small voices and large kindness. My best guess is that they have a good teacher. Some of it may have to do with my practice of saying “please” and “thank you,” as well as speaking with them intelligently and with respect.

More than anything else, it’s about expectations. No matter what grade what school, what time of day, I always anticipate cooperation. Through the years, I have also discovered that complete silence is nearly impossible to accomplish.

And so, I have broadened my areas of reasonability and have learned to accept a level of murmurs. While some of us require absolute silence, others of us can function otherwise. Somehow, it all comes back to growth. If we want our kids to grow we just can’t stifle them in their growing processes.

Somewhere, somehow, I must be doing something right. My students ask me to be their regular substitute and to return as soon as possible. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Shalom.

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