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Warning to Brand New Teachers
on December 7, 2002
Be very careful with the advice in this book if you are a brand new and idealistic teacher. You will be drawn to the book because it is full of common sense about how we should treat other human beings, especially children. However, keep in mind that specific, explicit limits, boundaries, and structures should be established first and foremost before you start working with kids on abstract concepts like choices, decisions, problems, and fairness. If you are just beginning the teaching profession, by all means do buy this book, but first buy "The First Days of School" by the Wongs and follow that one to the letter before you begin diving into "Love and Logic." Trust me: if your only rules on the wall are from the Love and Logic list, you will be eaten alive. The Love and Logic poster I was required to hang up in my classroom includes these sentences (among others): "I will treat you with respect so you know how to treat me" and "Feel free to do anything you want as long as it doesn't cause a problem for anyone else" and "If you think I do something unfair, whisper to me 'that's not fair' and we'll talk." Those statements are excellent, but children need to be brought to an understanding of what they mean over and over and over, through clear limits that you firmly set and enforce. Do read the book, as it is an excellent reminder of the ways in which we need to respect and truly care for students, but please keep my words in mind as you decide how you will manage your classroom.