In recent years I have really tried to focus on not bring a teacher so much as just being. Yes, the cliche of "Just be yourself" is something I have tried to learn and be. I want to goof around with my kids, not because I want to be the "cool" teacher but because I want kids to know that being themselves is worthwhile. This includes me singing stupid songs, telling stupid jokes, playing board games with students, making obscure nerd references, and simply just letting go.
Yesterday it meant playing around with Siri before school started (yes I wrote this one day late). Why do I think this is so important? A) it builds community and relationships. A certain level of trust forms because (at least I think) students see the vulnerability of a real person. B) when I need to level with kids and be serious they know that I mean it. They know I appreciate their senses of humour, their wacky personalities, and their oddities, but in some cases there are moments that are just inappropriate for that. That's a pretty powerful tool in the teacher Suisse army knife.