You are talented. You would not be here if you did not have the capacity to be great. Our selection process is very rigorous. We are looking for professionals whose commitment to the vocation and compassion for students drive your decision-making and we picked you because you possess that fundamental student-centered value. So long as you remain mindful of that, and base your decisions on what is best for kids and what is in the interest of furthering student learning, you will seldom go wrong.
You are never not a Norris teacher. You're always representing not just yourself but your team, your building, your school district, and your community. Remember that and conduct yourself accordingly, because in all circumstances you are an ambassador for the district and someone who incarnates the values of the profession.
We don't expect pedagogical perfection, but we do have an expectation of continuous professional growth. You must commit yourself to learning, because that is the most important asset or skill set that you can model for kids – a commitment to continuous learning. When you model the ability to be transformative yourself and show your students you have learned how to learn - they are more likely to adopt that mindset and acquire the resiliency life will demand of them.
Seize the day. There are mistakes you'll make as a teacher, but don't shy away from the teachable moment. You'll try things that don't work in the classroom or you may say something to get an outcome or to get compliance, and you realize that instead of motivating a child, this was detrimental to the relationship or hindered attaining the lesson's objective. But most of the time, the bigger mistakes are made when failing to follow through, not capitalizing on an opportunity, or omitting an action that could have realized your best intentions. So don't forget to seize the opportunity to say the affirmative words to a student, to offer specific praise, to validate your students and to support your colleagues. Follow through on the parent calls and contacts. Don't neglect to make the effort, because the relationship dividends are worth it. A thousandfold.
Technology has revolutionized education in so many ways, and has also made student engagement more attainable than ever. And that same technology has made screwing up in a grandly public and utterly ignominious fashion easier than ever. Choose wisely when you click 'send' and when you post or share. In every context.