"If you smile, the kids will think you're a pushover"

"Whatever you do," she told me, "Don't smile on the first day." This was the advice a longtime teacher gave me just before I taught my first class at a Miami high school. "If you do smile," she said, "the kids will think you're a pushover, and you'll never get control of the class again."

I took her counsel to heart and walked into my new classroom that first day determined to look forbidding. But when I looked out at that roomful of sixteen-year-olds—eager, tentative, and definitely more scared than I was—I felt overwhelmed with a desire to reassure them. And then, before I knew it, I smiled. I just couldn't help it.

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Testimony of Healing
When I was five months old I became sick
March 22, 1993
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