Friday, August 31, 2007

Your smile is your best accessory.

This title statement was made by Kimora Lee Simons in an episode of "Life in the Fab Lane" on the Style Network. No joke, I am quoting Kimora Lee Simons. In that particular episode, Simmons interviewed candidates for a personal assistant job, and she uttered those pearls of wisdom to the young woman who landed the gig. Watching the show is like watching "My Super Sweet 16" on MTV - they give me hives but I can't stop scratching the itch.

TEACHERS - do you smile much or at all in school? while teaching? while talking to students? parents? (Thanks to blogger/teacher frumteacher's "First Day" post for inspiring this topic.)

I think the bottom line is do your best with what's natural to your personality, and work it into the job. I'm a major smiler in "real life", so I smile when I greet students and they greet me back (I won't bother when they won't even make eye contact), I smile when I'm enthusiastic about a topic, I smile when I want to encourage or reassure ... it feels good to smile, and I actually believe that generally people respond positively when they are smiled AT.

I smile when I feel like smiling. The inclination to smile does not interfere with classroom management. I spell out the rules and consequences, follow through, and students get it. I've had 2 students (in 4 years) complain about how I "seem" nice then turn around and be "strict" - I was happy to explain action and reaction, rules and consequences, etc.

I know some of you teachers save the smiles for ... something really really special maybe? Please explain how you work it... :)


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the comments! So far, I feel that I can't hide my natural smile. So I smile, a lot. I want the students to feel comfortable with me, and this is just who I am. I did try to be more strict this year, though. And I found out that it does help to smile less when (trying to) be(ing) strict.

Natalie said...


"No joke, I am quoting Kimora Lee Simons."

Orchid in the Bronx said...

You ARE a smiler, when I envision you, you are always smiling! Anyone who can do a fake smile that looks real should be a professional actor, because I think most people (children especially) can see through a fake.

roller coaster teacher said...

Heh, heh. Thanks, orchid. Guess who's a smiler now? G. We met her first grade teacher last Monday, and after hanging out in the classroom for 20 minutes, the teacher said to G, are you going to smile like that all year? And D. and I said, YEP.

My own parallel story is that when I first moved to the US, I didn't speak English at all and attended first grade at a small Catholic school 2 blocks away from our NYC apartment. The story goes that even though I didn't "talk" for a few months, I smiled and SMILED.

Ms. George said...

My sister, younger but more experienced in teaching by about 7 years, told me not to smile for the first few weeks.
I can't do it. I smile a lot. I love my job. Oh, and I have a really good stare whenever I need my lovelies to listen. They know.
Then they want to know if they taught me that look in graduate school. I tell them I was top of the class...
Thanks for visiting my musings!