Part of being an effective teacher involves fine-tuning your people skills. But the knack for getting along with all the different personality types among your students, colleagues, and parents doesn't happen overnight. It takes patience, on-the-job-experience, and self-evaluation to gain a comfortable rapport with people you deal with on a professional basis. This checklist will help you assess your style and pinpoint areas where there is room for growth. To track your insights and improvements, consider keeping a teaching journal. The New Teacher Survival Guide has simplified journaling by creating My Journal, a space on this Web site for you to keep a private electronic journal of your first year as a teacher.

In the Classroom

__ Do I accept each student as he or she is?

__ Do I help all students feel they belong?

__ Do I show confidence in my students?

__ Do I let them know I like them?

__ Do I make each student feel he or she has something to contribute?

__ Do my students bring their problems to me?

__ Do I help them accept one another?

__ Do I live up to agreements with students?

__ Do I succeed in getting everyone to assume some responsibility?

__ Do I help the group form a behavior code?

Outside of the Class

__ Do I try to develop faculty cooperation?

__ Do I do my share in determining and carrying out school policies?

__ Do I aid colleagues with constructive ideas?

__ Do I accept ideas from others?

__ Do I refrain from interfering with the classroom affairs of colleagues?

__ Do I refrain from shifting my responsibilities to other teachers?

__ Do I maintain confidentiality about my students?

__ Do I transact school business through the proper channels?

__ Do I avoid petty conversations about my colleagues?

__ Do I maintain confidentiality about my colleagues?

With Parents and Community

__ Do I maintain friendly, cooperative relationships with parents?

__ Do I hold all information confidential?

__ Do parents feel sure that I deal justly and impartially with every child?

__ Do I give all parents their fair share of time?

__ Do I present a complete, fair, and meaningful evaluation to parents?

__ Do I listen to and give fair thought to parents' opinions?

__ Do I take an active part in community life?

Ethical Standards

__ Do I treat each student without prejudice and partiality?

__ Do I respect the confidence of a student? Of a group of students?

__ Do I refuse to use my position to promote partisan policies and sectarian views?

__ Do I listen to and weigh parents' viewpoints carefully?

__ Do I avoid making remarks that might discredit parents?

__ Do I support a school policy once it has been determined?

__ Am I kind, tolerant, and loyal in my dealings with professional associates?

__ Do I take pride in the achievements of my colleagues?

__ Do I criticize with discretion?

__ Am I proud of my profession? 

This article was adapted from Learning to Teach...Not Just for Beginners: The Essential Guide for All Teachers by Linda Shalaway, © 2005, published by Scholastic. This book is available in the Scholastic Teacher Store.