As this is the 25th first week of school I have experienced as a teacher, I know a bit about the importance of building relationships with my students early in the school year; it's much harder to pick up the pieces, later. I want my students to know me, feel safe with me, and be comfortable with me as we stretch through the fourth grade together. That's where my stories and silly comments come into play. It is the passion and energy that drains me by the end of the day.
At the same time, I really emphasize the importance of good manners. More and more, I want to hear "thank you", "you're welcome", "excuse me", and "I'm sorry" from my class at appropriate times. I will stress the importance of addressing adults with respectful terms such as "yes, sir" and "no ma'am" when appropriate, as well. These manners become apparent very quickly, and people (administrators, other teachers, peers, and visitors) recognize our class because of them. It's such a simple thing, but it goes so far and helps students become more personable, conversational, and employable in the future.
I hope you can appreciate our efforts to teach more than just the materials required by a government or district test. These manners and respectful behaviors go a long way toward building a foundation upon which the academics can be built.
That doesn't mean I won't make mistakes; in fact, I guarantee I will. I may say something that gets misunderstood. You should at least know this: I have the best intentions to make this year a memorable, enjoyable, and meaningful one. Please be patient with me through the bad days, and we can work together to encourage these 25 students to be the best.