1. In a world where digital interaction is the norm, we crave human interaction more than ever. That’s why the three things you need to ensure that innovation flourishes in your organization are relationships, relationships, and relationships.

  2. I have changed a lot of my thinking in the years of writing this blog, but my belief in the importance of relationships in education will only get stronger over time. It is the foundation we build on to create amazing schools.

  3. Hollie

    Got the same advice, but couldn’t do it! We lead by example, but Kids also have to put forth effort in the relationship.

  4. Mitzie Styles

    Relationships are sooooo important and not just with the kids. Do we respect each other as staff? Students pick up on how we treat each other as adults. As educators (teacher, administrations, district office, superintendents), are we living the social contract we are asking students to follow. That is indeed something to work on and a tall order in education.

  5. Ashton Archer

    Must be a big difference between UK and US education but why would you be told not to smile after Christmas? The quotes from you ‘book’ say absolutely nothing. Total pleonasm.

    Start hard, finish soft. That is the way you get respect from students. Earn their respect and then they’ll like you, want to come to class and then (hopefully) learn.

    If you are no longer a front line teacher who is at the ‘chalk-face’ every day then your comments don’t count for much to be brutally honest.

    • I don’t understand the comment about the difference between the UK and the US, considering George is Canadian. I too (Cdn) was given the advice not to smile before Christmas.–is that what you also mean by start hard and finish soft? This did not serve me well either. To be brutally honest, I don’t think that this comment adds very much and to me feels a little mean-spirited. Just this morning I tweeted how much better the world would be if we celebrated each other’s gifts instead of criticized. As for the “chalk face” comment,as a former Literacy Consultant and now T-L, I take slight offence. I may not have my own class, but my experience is valuable. Young people watch the way we interact and we should strive to challenge ideas, not people.

  6. I received that same advice when I first started and I did initially try to not smile until January. Good thing I couldn’t stick to it because my 25 kindergarteners would’ve suffered. It’s all about relationships. Relationships between teachers and students, students and students, teachers and administrators, teachers, administrators, and parents, and the list goes on!

  7. Pam

    Couldn’t agree more, George. I always hated that advice and it didn’t make sense to me. What sort of message are we giving students about who we are if we “don’t smile before Christmas”? By then you should have already established relationships of trust, care and compassion. The teachers I gave my best to were those I believed cared about me and those I trusted.

  8. Nita Luthria Row

    When I first started teaching, I read the same advice and felt the same way as you did – goes completely against the grain.

    So glad I never really tried to follow it.

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