In my first year at Inman High School I had a few tough kids. These were students that were used to having new teachers for breakfast. Whenever a colleague wanted to give me the skinny on a student, I refused to hear it. I knew that the kid would know I'd been told and live down his or her reputation. To keep my mind open no matter how scary kids were trying to look, I took the old grade school yearbook photos of my kids as kindergarteners and glued them to my seating chart. This way I always pictured them correctly, as kids full of possibility, someone's little baby. The other thing I did was to "always" treat the one I feared the most like the only one I could trust. This alone payed huge dividends for everyone concerned.