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High Expectations For Every Student—No More Excuses


love this book!

love this book!


(This post is inspired by my favorite teacher ( seriously, she’s like the Freedom Writer teacher ) in the universe and bff, T.C. She is revolutionary and amazing and inspiring. She begins her new classes with a dialogue something like this every September.~ Love you, T.)


I am amazed by the diamonds that just need to be dusted, and I am blessed to be given the job of holding the dust cloth and taking the first wipe.—T. C.



–Hello, Class,


Welcome to 8th grade English. I’m thrilled you are HERE and believe this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.


I am well aware that many of you are from broken homes, abusive situations, foster facilities, and dreadful conditions. I also know some of your family members are incarcerated and unable to take care of you. I understand. I’ve been there, and I’ve lived in places and cities that most people would be afraid to walk alone in. So you see, I really do understand.

A big lesson I learned as soon as I was able to pick myself up from those bad conditions, is how beneficial a good night’s sleep can be to your body. You will wake up feeling in good health, and with a clear mind, ready to take on the day. According to healthy sleep website, proper sleep also helps with depression, along with a myriad of other things. It is very important that you take this into account and make sure that you rest well, just as you push yourself hard to use your time effectively during the day.


The situations you find yourself in Do Not Define You, or Determine Who You Will Become. Remember that. Hold that reality inside your heart. This, at times, will save you.


My expectations for this class are easy to follow. You respect one another. You respect me. You treat others with dignity. No violence. No verbal abuse. No bullying. It will not be tolerated in this class. EVER.


No excuses.


If you’re having a bad day because you were arguing with your parents in the morning, that doesn’t mean you can punch somebody in the face, call another student a rotten name, or throw a chair across the room. If you’re on an IEP, that doesn’t mean you can swear and blurt out whenever you like. If you didn’t get any sleep last night, that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to threaten and terrorize another student.


No excuses.


I want you to know I care about you. I even love you. I’m here to talk with you about anything you wish to talk about. No subject is off limits. And I will find every resource in the book to help you succeed and rise up to where you should be. I want you to know I’m not here to be your friend. I’m more like a mother figure who will hold you accountable every. single. time. for your poor behavior. I will also praise you for your awesomeness, amazingness, and uniqueness.


If you think you can’t do the work, write an essay, or know what a possessive noun is—you can sit with me during my lunch time and after school hours, and we will work on it together.


Because “You Will” be passing this class.


No excuses.


Any questions?



NOTE: After the initial introduction, T. doesn’t need to say anything. The mission statement is understood. It is now time for action, not passiveness. The first action she completes is this: Each student writes down any negative thoughts about last year and then places that negativity through a shredder. She does it, too. This is the beginning of a new, positive year!


~~~Dear, Reader, have you had a teacher who has changed your life in a positive way?


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  • Reply
    September 24, 2016 at 10:57 am

    She is so amazing!

  • Reply
    nan @ lbddiaries
    September 24, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    No, I never that type teacher – would that every single child could have one like TC and KR because you guys rock and are affecting an entirely new generation of kids that will GO FAR in a good way. Why? Because someone cared.

  • Reply
    Elephant's Child
    September 24, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    The entire world needs teachers like this. Adults and children alike.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Dear Kim

    This is so inspiring! I wish that all teachers could take a lesson from this, I am certain that it would bring about so much positivity.

    Thank you for sharing this with us all;-)

    Wishing you all the best always. .

  • Reply
    September 24, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Double, Treble, 100 Times WOW! What a dynamite person to have as a teacher, mentor, example, friend!!

  • Reply
    lisa thomson-The Great Escape...
    September 24, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Love this! What a beautiful way to start a new year. The teachers that made the biggest impression on me were in the Elementary school years. Most of my teachers were wonderful and kind hearted. Nice share, Kim! xo

  • Reply
    Sandra Charron
    September 24, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    I never leave this blog feelongated anything other than inspired. Thank you my darling for always being a shoning light xoxo

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    September 25, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Where was she when I was still in school? What an inspiring and amazing teacher!

  • Reply
    Peta Kaplan
    September 25, 2016 at 4:45 am

    I love this. “High expectations for every student”… what an obvious and yet novel (sadly) concept. High expectations no doubt help students to have high expectations for themselves… Self fulfilling prophecy. Love the shredding of negative thoughts from the previous year and the opportunity to start afresh and anew. An important concept for all of us.


  • Reply
    Totally Caroline
    September 25, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I wish I was blessed with a teacher like that, but no. I think those special ones are rare and far between. My grandmother was a teacher though, and she is a great inspiration to me.

  • Reply
    September 25, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Love you 💋

  • Reply
    Kristi R Campbell
    September 25, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    OMG I want this teacher for me. For my son, and I want to enter your writing contest but I get really twitchy about writing for other people – like bad. Maybe because I didn’t have this teacher?

  • Reply
    September 26, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!
    Love to you sweet Kim from a beautiful warm and sunny Sundays River.
    🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

  • Reply
    Chris Carter
    September 26, 2016 at 7:39 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Oh, we need ALL teachers to do this!!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    A GREAT BLOG Kim, I wish all teachers were like that, wow what a great example for the young teachers
    my favorite teacher was my math teacher, also my hockey coach, which didn’t hurt.
    Love You

  • Reply
    Sandra Garth
    September 26, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    I never had that kind of teacher but that is the kind of teacher I was.

  • Reply
    Balroop Singh
    September 26, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Such wonderful teachers are very rare! Love you Kim for sharing this.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    She sounds like a fabulous teacher. I had a few such memorable teachers but after reading this, I wish I could go back to school and have her as my educator. I think I’d learn a lot! Thanks for sharing, Kim!

  • Reply
    September 27, 2016 at 1:38 am

    Wow – what a powerful introduction! Great teachers really do make a difference.

  • Reply
    September 27, 2016 at 7:45 am

    I loved many teachers during my school years but it wasn’t about their teaching. I used to fall in love with any of my teachers who would notice me in class, who would ask me a question or ask me if I was OK. I used to be always alone and that meant the world to me.

  • Reply
    September 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Dear Kim, we all need teachers like this amazing one! What a powerful message! Love, love your post!!! There are lots of teachers in my family and my hubby is a teacher too…teachers influence us in so many ways and oftentimes we carry their teachings with us for the rest of our lives.
    Many hugs and kisses,

  • Reply
    September 28, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    If every kid in the entire world had at least one teacher that amazing, this would be a far better place. Bless her for her optimism, her strength, her love! I bet she’ll never know how many kids succeed only because of her and the life lessons she’s imparting.

  • Reply
    Amy Tong
    September 30, 2016 at 10:00 am

    What a wonderful teacher to have! Every kid needs to hear straight and positive statements like these! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother
    September 30, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I love everything about this. My favorite line: “The situations you find yourself in Do Not Define You, or Determine Who You Will Become. Remember that. Hold that reality inside your heart. This, at times, will save you.” YES!!!!!

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