Walt Disney Parks and Resorts saw over 120 million guests in 2012. As each Disney World guest enters through the gates of Magic Kingdom, her typical priority is nothing short of making her dreams of fun come true. Disney, however, does not train its employees to ask themselves, “How do I make sure every guest has fun?” The first priority on every Disney employee’s mind is “How do I make sure every guest is safe?” Only when everyone is safe, can everyone have fun.
This fall, you will have many students cross the threshold of your door. As students enter your classrooms, you will want all of them to learn at very high levels and to love their time in your class. Your first priority on Day 1, however, cannot be “How do I make sure every student loves my class?” Your first priority must be, “How do I make sure my students follow the norms of the classroom?” It is only in the context of clear, consistent, purposeful, and caring leadership that students can feel safe and students can learn and find joy in learning. Before anything else happens in your classroom this year, it is critical that you establish yourself as the leader of your classroom—there to guarantee that every student is safe and is guided in the paths that will help them learn at high levels.
It’s having a clear vision in your mind of how the day-to-day activities should occur in your classroom. A system of routines and procedures can make it easy for students to follow directions and help your classroom smoothly. Through your clear vision and explicit communication of expectations, you will create an invisible structure in your classroom that will produce a visible culture of order and discipline where learning can thrive.
-Danny Song, Class of 2010
Assistant to Executive Director