Thursday, February 28, 2013

Heart Thrill

I'm only supposed to write 2 journals a week now, but I have to share this joy...

Mr. Moody who has been pulling grades in the F and D range in every class, has put his mind into getting his interactive notebook caught up for Bible class. He filled in the blank pages, got class notes from classmates, asked for help on the assignments he didn't understand, and got it all done!

Late last night, I finished grading it and entered the grades in our online grading system. It pulled him up to a B! A B!!! I was so excited, I yelled the news down to the bedroom at the end of the hall, which answered WoooHOOO!!! out of the darkness. (I live with my cooperating teacher.)

Today I slipped the graded notebook in front of him and whispered, "You have a B now."

He grunted non-commitally, and I wondered as I walked away if it meant anything to him.

I didn't have to wait long to know.

In moments, he was excitedly tapping the arms of the students next to him. "Hey, hey did you hear that?? I have a B in Bible!"

And my heart smiles to see one who has known so very little of the fulfilling satisfaction of accomplishment taste the sweetness of it.

This must be what God feels like when His messed up little ones come pleading for His strength and they find that overcoming sin really is possible!!

Seeing "I can't, why should I try?" turn into "Hey, I did this!"....

It's just another one of the things I love about my job.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday, 2/26/13

Dear Journal,

I have discovered the secret to keeping the kids from browsing the internet while they're supposed to be doing their typing!

I restructured my grading system for typing such that I give them 10 points each day for typing. I have the online gradebook pulled up on my computer and casually stroll the room, and each time I see someone pull up another website I drop their grade a point. I discussed this with them and they are all very aware that I do it.

The first few days that I implemented it I got a lot of flack.

Firecracker darling pulled out every cute charm he has, imploring me with both hands clutching his little heart to please, please give him his points back.

I told him I hated doing it as much as he did, and that I really wished he wasn't forcing me to.. and then marked him down another point for his little demonstration!

But today I was rewarded, as nearly every student in the class stayed on task, kept on the right website, and just generally got a whole lot done!

Good kids.

I am so privileged to know them!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday, 2/25/13

Dear Journal,

Sugar dump over the weekend=grumpy funk in class on Monday

The dear children were all out of sorts today.

The ones that weren't out cold and crashed on the tops of their desks met me with a whiny clamor for more time to do the project they were assigned over the weekend because they "didn't have time."

I put on my stern face and told them I couldn't give them class time unless they were really going to use it. "I can't give you my valuable time for you to just use laughing and talking."

Naturally, they protested loudly that they would NEVER do such a thing. (Yes, dears...I'm sure you wouldn't!)

And I gave them five minutes...

Turning to set up my computer with the WiFI projector, I met Ms. Wanda's twinkling eyes:

"Girl, you're soft as jello."

Ok, so I need to grow a backbone...

Still loving my job!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tuesday, 2/19/13

Dear Journal,

I discovered a beautiful thing today.

This little phrase "Thank you" has so much power in it.

I have been struggling to find the best way to bring everyone's attention back to the front after they have been working on their Scripture Typer at the beginning of class. They don't all finish at first, and it's hard to get them all focused so we can pray and start our lecture.

Silent waiting doesn't work too well partly because it gives them no impetus to finish, and because it makes them awkwardly uncomfortable because, for those moments, it doesn't feel like the teacher is in control.
Yet at the same time I don't want to be harsh with them and call them by name until they quit what they're doing and start paying attention. That doesn't work.

So today, it happened quite by accident that I was standing there in the front of the room, having asked them to wrap up what they were doing and turn their attention to the front. Most gave me a nod and continued typing. This is typical. (The nature of Scripture Typer is that you have to finish the verse you are working on, you can't just quit what you are doing and come back to it.) But today, I noticed my big, quiet boy immediately close out the window and lean back in his chair to give me his full attention.

"Thank you, J-man!" I told him with a warm smile. Immediately, his desk partner looked up, hurriedly brought her work to a close and gave me her full attention too. "And thank you, Cheerful." I smiled at her too.

Quickly scanning the rest of the room, I called out each person who was giving me their attention with a personal "Thank you." The effect was incredible! One girl, sitting between two that I had thanked, looked up in dismay as she realized that she had not been. "Wait, Miss Beth! I was looking! I was looking! I was almost done! I was just finishing up!"

"Thank you, Industrious!" She smiled a shy little smile.

As I looked across the room, I was amazed.
I had everyone's attention, and every face was lighted with a warm, happy smile.

All because of a couple simple "Thank you's."

How easy is that?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

PowerPoint Presentation- Why Rules?

Why Rules?

More PowerPoint presentations from Beth Johns

Notes: (I project the powerpoint onto the whiteboard, so that I (or the students) can write or draw on the slide during the presentation. Hence some slides are only a basic framework with no content.)

Slide 2- How many of you have gardened?

3-These plants have been deprived of sunlight.

4-Eyewitness experience of Ohio drought

6-These plants have been deprived of water.

7-This plant has been deprived of nitrogen, a necessary nutrient.

8-Ask for other examples of natural laws that are basic and intuitive to us. I.e. Gravity. (Hold out an object and ask, “If I drop this will it go up or down?” I dropped my iPhone for the shock effect!)

These laws tell us the principles that the natural world operates on.

9-Farmers study to know the right temperatures, nutrient balance, watering conditions, light, etc, so they can grow the best plants possible.

10-Another example of laws.

11-In the same way, God’s laws are not random and arbitrary. They are just as natural as the laws of nature. They tell us what principles work and which don’t.

12-Random call discussion of a thought question from the homework assignment. Students share their thoughts. (Note: I opted not to use random call at the last moment because several students had not completed the homework assignment and I wanted to avoid putting a bunch of them on the spot, so just called on the ones who had. Those who hadn’t chimed in with thoughts once the others had started sharing.)

13-Read quote.

14-In groups, what does it mean that God’s law is the transcript of His character?

(God’s character put into words, written out, etc.)

15-The wheel-in-a-wheel. (The illustration on this slide got messed up in uploading. There should be an arrow pointing from each member of the Godhead to the other two. This forms a double circle with the inner arrows pointing clockwise and the outer arrows pointing counter-clockwise.)
Review from the beginning of the year.

God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit from endless ages have demonstrated other-centered love in loving each other. They have each given love to the other two, resulting in love coming back to themselves in a continuously flowing circle.

16-Draw another circle of giving:

Water Cycle
Plant Growth Cycle
The foundational principle of nature and heaven is this other-centered principle: “receive to give.”

17-When God made man, the circle expanded.

[Draw: “God” in the upper left corner with arrows pointing across the top to “other parts of God”(in the upper right) and down to “man”(in the lower left)]
Fundamental principle that God created inside of us, is to love God and others.
God created us to love as He loves and when we do the circle is completed.
[Draw: Arrow pointing from “Man” up to “God” and across the bottom to “other men” (in the lower right) Complete the circle by filling in arrows from “other men” up to “other parts of God” and all other places needed until each part of the circle has arrows pointing to and from it just like the Wheel-in-a-wheel]

18-Walk through the commandments.

Who does this help us love? Who gets hurt if this is broken?
(We took our time here, and went off an a tangent where I asked them to discuss in their Think-pair-share groups the difference between the first and second commandments. They wrestled through it for a while, and then I worked them through it to bring out for them that the first tells us to worship the right God, and the second to worship the right God in the right way. This sparked some incredible discussion, and laid the groundwork for the next class on the Golden Calf.)

19-Show this slide, and then advance to the next and re-draw the circle drawing. Emphasize that the ten commandments tell us how to do the two things that God created us to do: love God, and love other men.

(Jesus reinforces this in Matthew 22:37-40)

20-Erase “man” and all the arrows going from it. Replace it with the word “Me” and draw several arrows from all directions pointing into it. Satan broke the circle by getting man to serve himself. All sin is a form of selfishness. (See 4T 484.3)


In heaven everything operates in the unbroken circle. There is no selfishness in the love. Everybody loves everybody else before themselves.
Satan broke the circle by bringing in selfishness which separates us from God.
God sent Jesus so we could have a way out of our selfishness. On our own, we can’t break out of the selfishness we are born in, but God will give us a blood transfusion of Jesus love to make it possible to love unselfishly.
The law shows us how heaven operates and how to live in an unbroken circle.
(May bring out that obeying the law with selfish motives, or not out of love (like the pharisees) does nothing to reconnect the circle because it does not cure selfishness.)

22-(R12 signifies the right side of the interactive notebook. This is a processing activity for what we have covered. It gives them a chance to express their understanding of it.)

PowerPoint- Why the Sanctuary?

Powerpoint Presentation from Bible class last Thursday.
Notes: (I project the powerpoint onto the whiteboard, so that I (or the students) can write or draw on the slide during the presentation. Hence some slides are only a basic framework with no content.)

 Slide 2- Review of the character of God. Discussion: what is God like?

 3-Students write an attribute of God on the left side of the T-chart. (Note: I started off asking “Complete the sentence: God is _______. I found I got better responses when I asked them “what is your favorite thing about Jesus?”)

4-The wheel-in-a-wheel concept they have covered earlier in class. For ceaseless ages God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have existed in a circle of other-centered love. Each of them selflessly loves the other two. God created man to be in a circle of self-denying love with Him too. Man was to find his satisfaction in loving God and in loving His fellow man. Sin breaks this circle. Isaiah 59:2. Selfishness makes us self-centered instead of other centered. God is the epitome of unselfishness. There is no self-serving in His love. It is entirely other-centered.

 5-In contrast, what does Satan say about what God is like?

 6-Now, on the right side of the T-chart, students write what Satan says about the character of God. Discuss the differences. (The things Satan says about God are really true of himself)


 8-Write in the definitions as students call them out. Sin had to be allowed to play out. The reason God was able to bear to allow sin to run it’s course is because He provided a way out, so that anyone who would enter the "way out" wouldn’t have to die.

 9-Discuss in Think-pair-share.
 Ways: Nature, direct revelation, the lives and words of men of God.
Nature reveals God: “Among the heathen are those who, though ignorant of the written law of God, have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required, and they are recognized as the children of God.” DA 638
Yet, what had happened by the time of the children of Israel? What kind of understanding of God did the children of Israel have? Were they others-centered or self-centered? They complained and clamored for food, water– they said "God has brought us out to destroy us." They didn’t understand God. Nature was no longer a sufficient "book." God needed a way to show them more directly what He is like and how the plan of salvation works. He needed to come get close to them. "Let them make me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them."

 10-The way is in the Sanctuary, Jesus said “I am the way.”
 (From Pastor Baute sermon regarding Luke 24:27: Jesus spoke these words shortly after the crucifixion as He was walking behind a couple of His dejected disciples on the road to Emmaus. And if you remember they were very upset because here they were so convinced that Jesus was the Messiah and yet here, He was crucified – the most humiliating death. And so they were walking away, their faith was shaken, and they were wondering, “You know, maybe He wasn’t the Messiah after all.” And all of a sudden a Stranger comes alongside and begins talking to them and asks, “What’s happening? What are you gentlemen talking about?” And they began to tell Jesus what had happened that day in Jerusalem and then Jesus begins to talk to them about the law of Moses. Dear friends, what Jesus began to do was to expound upon the disciples the sanctuary. The plan of salvation. And as the disciples began to listen, they began to realize that the very act which to them had disproved Jesus being the Messiah now they realized was the ultimate evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. And they learned that through the sanctuary.)

13- The Sanctuary provides the answers to these questions and more.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday, 2/18/13

Dear Journal,

Bible class is officially my favorite class. Teaching young people who do not have much prior knowledge of Biblical truths or Bible stories has been challenging me to get down to the very basic foundation of the gospel, and in the process I am discovering truth in a whole new way myself. I truly feel like in these last two weeks or so I am falling in love with Jesus all over again. I pray for the same experience for my students.

God has been merciful to me and is helping me pull my thoughts together into cohesive points. Today we discussed the law of God, (a.k.a. "Why Rules?") I woke up in the morning feeling very fuzzy on it myself and unsure of what I would say, but spending time in prayer brought me to humble trust, and within a couple hours, the whole thing came together.

My speech class has responded remarkably to having me take my own class along with them. They have dug in the last couple days and are preparing their speeches like there's no tomorrow. Thank you, Lord! This first speech that I assigned is to be about "A challenge you have faced and how you overcame it." This is particularly challenging for one young lady in my class. She comes from a horrendous background and is completely sealed up when it comes to talking about her past, her family, or herself in general. She stays on the surface and will not venture into much of anything deeper than movies and clothes. I have been "accidentally" choosing speeches to show them in class which present messages of courage, resilience, overcoming baggage and the like. I know these have been hitting key triggers for her. She has struggled more than anyone else in the class to think of a topic for her speech. Today I overheard one of the boys in the class encouraging her to be open and honest. He said he had really struggled about sharing too, but after he shared his testimony about overcoming drinking at Spiritual Retreat he was a lot more comfortable. At the end of the period, I was delightedly shocked to hear her say, "I can't believe I'm going to do this. I NEVER share about stuff like this."

Can't wait to hear this!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday, 2/12/13

Dear Journal,

Today I had someone videotape my computer literacy class. (Which incorporated a technique that I'm DEFINITELY keeping in my bag of tricks which I'll blog about later, along with maybe a portion of the video..)

I found watching it to be very revealing. I was surprised that I actually looked more confident than I felt. I was less happily surprised to realize that I had completely missed, passed over, and bulldozed a thoughtful comment from one of my students. Perhaps I've discovered the reason that he's beginning to shut down to me. I need to give him time to get his thoughts out, and I need to affirm what he has said and probe him deeper. He is a deep thinker and has a wealth of things to share even if he struggles with social grace to say them. I hope I haven't lost him! Praying for wisdom to get him back..

The most beneficial thing I learned from watching myself is my need to think deeper. I hesitated a lot. I paused longer than was necessary or comfortable. I gave unclear directions. Many responses I gave were vague and indirect. This is because I am not confident in the subject matter myself. This can be remedied. I gave unclear directions and training in canvassing before I became confident enough in the subject matter to be able to give real advice and concise, understandable directions. If I could learn how to do that, I can learn the material I am teaching my students well enough to be able to teach them effectively. In canvassing training, I can meet nearly any question with a story because I have years worth of stories that illustrate just about every aspect of canvassing. I know it backwards and forwards because I have been immersed in it.

This is the secret. I must immerse myself in the subject matter of my classes. This is easy in Bible. It is not difficult for this unit of Computer Literacy either, as I'm teaching PowerPoint and-- well-- I come from a family that eats, drinks, and breathes presentation graphics. That's just what we do. Because I know it well, I can fall back on my knowledge base.

I don't feel this way with my Senior Speech class. I actually somewhat enjoy public speaking myself, though I'm far from confident with it. But I don't know the ins and outs of it. I don't understand it from the ground up so that I know what works and what doesn't, not to mention why. So I wrestled tonight, in sleepless hours, what am I trying to teach them? Why is this really important for them to know? What are the life-altering concepts I want them to take away from this? What do I want them to be when they are finished with this short time I have with them?

I can't expect them to catch a vision as long as I myself don't know what that vision is. I found myself wishing I could go back to take Mrs. Clark's speech class and truly immerse myself in the experience (take more notes and sleep less, maybe?)

Then-- in an electrifying moment of epiphany-- it hit me. I can't go back and retake the speech class I already took, but I can take the one I'm teaching. I can immerse myself in the experience of public speaking, and in the experience I will discover the reasons.

So, when they give a speech in class, I'm going to be preparing and presenting too right along beside them. I'm going to beg them to be tough on me. To get on me for playing with my hair and shifting on my hips like a crazy woman (like I did on the video today.) I'm going to have them point out my failures and make me rework it until the final product is stellar. I'm going to get into this thing, feel it all over like a blind person discovering the world, taste it, smell it, wrestle with it until I understand it.

The next speech class I have opportunity to teach will get it from the ground up, because I know there's ground down there somewhere and I'm going to find it.

And this class? They will be cheated in one sense, because they have a teacher who doesn't really have a clue what she's doing. But perhaps it will benefit them in another sense. Maybe the old adage to "lead by example" is really the effective way after all. Maybe what I model for them in my own fervency and zeal for excellence will motivate them more than anything else I can do at this point. I hope so. Cause if they hit this economy with the amount of push and drive that they have (or don't have!) they are going to ruin themselves in short order.

And that's not going to happen on my watch if I can help it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday, 2/11/13

Dear Journal,

I saw this coming and hoped it wouldn't, but alas--

The child, Mr. Moody, has somehow become possessed with the idea that he is going to marry me.

He deeply dislikes it when Firecracker talks to me, and in fact, stormed out of class in a hot, jealous rage today over an altercation that happened between them.

Oh. Dear.

My book doesn't have a chapter about how to handle this one!

It isn't terribly often that I wish to be married-- but at times like this it would be a blessing.

The solution will come in answer to prayer, and I am confident that my Lord has one. (Extra prayers are welcomed!)

My seniors are getting quite talkative! They are beginning to recognize their need for better speaking skills as well, (slowly but surely!) Today we watched several graduation speeches and they REALLY resonated with that, since their culminating speech for the class will be given at their graduation. You could see little light-bulbs going on in their heads. Love those moments!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I've been getting emails and questions from several people who have been reading these little journals and curious to know more about the techniques and how-to's. I wish I could add more into the actual journal entries but my supervisor has been dropping little hints that I should be practicing my skills in being succinct,  finally she came right out and told me, "NO more than three paragraphs!"


So since I can't put all the interesting background info into the journals anymore, I'll post some of it as supplements to the entries.
Teaching is the one profession where stealing is not only allowed, but celebrated and encouraged. Teaching methods are meant to be shared, swapped, stolen and adapted. If something works, grab it and use it yourself. So while I'm learning, I want to start sharing so any of you all can be stealing what I'm learning. 

Here's a section about body language to explain exactly what a "kind but firm smile" is.
Perhaps I shouldn't have referred to it as a smile, because in truth it is not. It is a smile in the sense that it communicates "I love you a lot" but it is not a smile where the corners of the mouth are turned up..

In the words of Fred Jones:

(After explaining the importance of being relaxed while correcting students)

While some teachers will set their jaws while setting limits, others will smile. Sometimes this is a sign of ambivalence as the teacher is torn between "good guy" and "bad guy" roles that have never been sorted out. This body language says, Please forgive me for meaning business. 

But there are other reasons for many of us smiling when our jaws should be relaxed. We often smile without knowing it because the disruptive students cause us to smile.

Smiling is what biologists call a trigger mechanism. When a person smiles at us it triggers our smiling back. It is a mild version of submission behavior known as "greeting behavior."

When we catch students goofing off, they typically look up and give us smiley face-- that ingratiating mixture of mild surprise and feigned innocence that all children use to "get off the hook." "Smiley face" tends to trigger a mild smile from us in response. You may not feel this smile. It is often just a softening of the face around the mouth and eyes that says, everything is okay.

The last thing you want to do while attempting to mean business is to signal students that everything is okay. Rather than shaping up, they relax.

This brings us to a well known story about Queen Victoria, our model for regal behavior. As the story goes, someone at the dinner table told a slightly off-color joke. Since Queen Victoria had little patience for such humour, she looked impassively at the would-be-comedian as the table fell silent. Then she coldly stated to the offending guest the immortal words, "We are not amused." That was the "Royal We," of course.

You would do well to think of yourself as Queen Victoria when attempting to mean business. Relax your jaw. This is no time to give tacit approval to misbehavior by a softening of the face. Nor, does upset serve any constructive purpose. As students go through their little antics to get off the hook; relax, wait, and give them your best Queen Victoria look that says, We are not amused.

Only when the students realize that their antics are getting them nowhere will they consider an alternative strategy. The alternative that you are waiting to see is well understood by students: Get back to work.

I have a clear picture in my mind of my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Haines, describing something to the class in an animated fashion. Larry...did something disruptive on the far side of the room. In mid-sentence, Mrs. Haines stopped and turned her upper body slowly toward Larry as though to say I beg your pardon.

All eyes turned to Larry whose face seemed to say Whoops. As Mrs. Haines waited, Larry came around in his chair and faced forward. After a pause, Mrs. Haines continued as though nothing had happened. Queen Victoria would have been proud.

Mrs. Haines had finesse. She was able to say "no" to Larry's behavior in no uncertain terms with very little effort. She was one of the only teachers I had in elementary school who did not want to kill Larry by the end of the year.

Fred Jones, Tools for Teaching, chapter sixteen, pg 189-191
(Note: HIGHLY recommend this book)

So how can you add "I love you" to the Queen Victoria look? (The "smile" to the "kind and firm")

In canvassing, we learn that if you are thinking "I love you" in your mind, it will show through your eyes. We have micro-expressions in our face that communicate our thoughts to the people who see us.
I've found that thinking "I like you" has a slightly different effect (less sappy perhaps??) and can be even more effective with teenagers than "I love you." Thinking of something that you genuinely like about the kid helps this be more real.
(Note on that: Talking about how much you like the kids you're working with will make it much easier for you to work with them. Our mindsets are shaped by the words that we speak and the attitudes we express. Talking about how much you love your students and what you love about them will put you in the mindset where you can discipline in love. Sometimes your words wiggle their way back to the students' ears too and that makes them feel warm and fuzzy. Students are much more cooperative when they're feeling warm and fuzzy!)

And always, always follow up Queen Victoria with affirmation. Smile warmly once the student "gets back to work" to signify your approval. Give the shoulder a pat/squeeze, or tousle/smooth the hair with your hand if you're close enough.

The big picture of this one I've learned mostly from my teacher Jorge Baute. He is a master at the art of communicating genuine interest and love.

He says teenagers are like a bank account. (I think we all are!) You have to make deposits before you take withdrawals. If you take every opportunity you can to love them, you will be able to be straight with them when you need to because they know you love them.

You can make deposits lots of ways:
  • Sticky notes. Just a "hey I'm thinking about you/praying for you/noticed you're not yourself today"note stuck on a desk in passing, in a notebook, or stealthily slipped in the hall with a quick hug. These mean volumes. Pr. Baute used to do this at his job, and when he left, people would take him to their cubicles and show him where they had saved every single sticky note he'd ever given them!
  • Notice everything. If a smile isn't quite right for some reason, find a chance to say, "Hey, you doing ok? Just worried about you." If someone does something well, be sure and tell them you liked it.
  • Smile at them.
  • Call them by name.
Any of the rest of you have tips that work for you when you're working with students/young people? I'm still figuring all this stuff out and the more advice the better!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday, 2/5/13

Dear Journal,

So today I put my shoulders back erect, picked my chin up a little higher, and put a no-nonsense sparkle into my smile. I put interrupters in their place and kept the class moving straight ahead through the review we did today.

They noticed. And they behaved like such beautiful well-trained little children! They took me seriously, they kept on task, they made effort and were just all-out adorable.

Aha! Got it. I remember this now!

Solved the problems I'd been having with some of them using Facebook, G+, games etc. during class.
I do a lot of walking around during the class, and when I noticed a student playing solitaire I made my way slowly over to him, leaned in close and waited with a kind but firm smile until I had both of his eyes locked into mine, then all I had to do was point at the screen and say, "That. Never happens in class." Then, widen the smile a little bit, think "I love you", give the shoulder a quick squeeze, and turn away.

Thank you, Fred Jones. It works!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday, 2/4/13

Dear Journal,

This past week was the school's Spiritual Retreat. It is tradition here for the Seniors to take charge of the retreat-- they plan the program and activities, they coordinate much of the logistics for taking the whole school off-campus to a retreat center, and they take charge. They are the hosts, the set-up staff, the deans, and just about everything. The staff are there for backup only.

This experience seems to have grown my seniors before my eyes. They came back with a new appreciation for leadership!

The student body also responded very positively to the spiritual experience of the retreat. The speaker, Justin Howard, connected with them from the first moment and was able to distill the simple gospel into words that they could relate to. Praise God.

Today I observed Nikisha Lee's class. It made me excited to watch her. This girl is fluid efficiency. If I were to describe her classroom presentation in one phrase it would be "In control." And with motherly grace she pulls it off in such a nice pleasant way that the students come, go and quiet down at her beck and call. She doesn't put up with nonsense. She puts interrupters in their place. And they love and respect her. I was inspired.

She also managed to get them running two laps around the interior of the auditorium to "warm up" before they practiced their speeches on each other, which I thought was just the coolest thing I've ever seen a teacher do! She said, "OK, since you all are so cold in here, we're going to run two laps around the room." She said it with a smile and a charming little shrug of the shoulders, and then, "Are you ready? Ok, let's go!" and she took off running herself. They loved it. Followed her like a pack of 5th graders.

I'm going to practice more in-charge body language from now on. I think that's been one of my problems. In the insecurity of figuring out a new place, my shoulders haven't been as erect as they should be.. and I've been reacting to things in the more submissive/permissive mode because I'm not sure where my boundaries are yet. But it's working against me in the classroom. Change begins tomorrow.