The best advice I can offer at the beginning of the year is something I heard from a church leader when I was beginning to teach, "It's not what you know, it's who you are." I didn't exactly understand it at the time, but over the years I have seen and experienced the wisdom of these words. Many times, when we adults are preparing to teach the year, we get too caught up into choosing and implementing the best curriculum and we forget what is most important. Ten or twenty years from now, our student's main recollection of learning from us will probably not be how much knowledge we imparted onto them, but instead, they will remember our character or lack thereof, our gestures, and our smiling or grumpy face. At this time of year, my strongest recommendation I can share with all teachers is to focus most on trying to be the best person that you can be. Even though you may be a little tired or stressed, even though you may be learning something new in order to teach it, remember that the children in front of you will be most positively affected by your kindness, your patience, and your smile. If you are attempting to give to your children a strong faith in Christianity and in a loving Heavenly Father, this is the greatest time of year to show to your children that even though you may feel overwhelmed by your work, you will not let this feeling get in the way of you doing your best job teaching. If you are not Christian or do not believe in God, then this is also the best time of year to show your children your patience and care for them, even though you have so much to do.
Teaching with the Take a Stand! series helps me get to know my children and students better and it helps them how to think critically, form historical judgement, and express themselves in speech and in writing.