If I were to put my self in a middle school student's shoes, I might very well look at this school building and feel intimidated, and perhaps even afraid. That's why it is so important to me to establish a caring learning environment inside my classroom.
Once students step through my door, I want them to feel they are safe from anything they may fear, and free to be, and express, themselves in a way which makes them feel comfortable.
I communicate expectations for behavior and achievement through the daily interactions I have with my students. I praise students who follow directions and routines, as well as those who do exemplary work, which inspires other students to also strive for such positive reinforcement.
I encourage parents to be as involved as they can be in the education of their children. To facilitate parent engagement, I post students' grades on the online program Engrade, which allows parents to see their children's academic progress, as well as provides them with a direct means of communication to me, through the site's email application.
I get to know my students by interacting with them, but perhaps more importantly, by observing them. Students are sometimes hesitant to divulge information about themselves to their teachers, yet there is much an educator can learn about a student by simply paying attention to his or her behavior in the classroom. Furthermore, I get to know my students by making the extra effort to ask them questions about their interests and their opinions. Ultimately, it has been my experience that the more I try to get to know my students as individuals, the more they trust and respect me as an educator.