One high school teacher from Texas, who likes to create a “stern, but silly atmosphere,” always buys a new outfit. “It gave me confidence when I was a kid, and it is something silly I have kept doing as a teacher. I would tell kids that we are just as insecure as they are that first day.” Another passes out index cards and allows her students to ask questions anonymously. It lets them release their own worries without fear, and creates an atmosphere of trust. An elementary school teacher in San Antonio starts the year with a strong emphasis on expectations, as well as rules and consequences. She reviews these with parents during “Meet the Teacher Night,” held by the school the week before school starts, and on the first day with her students. “If you set high expectations, they will rise to the occasion,” she says, adding that rules are posted so that both students and parents are aware and reminded of them. “If you’re not consistent—in meting out both rewards and consequences—the students pick up on that right away,” she says. “It’s important to get students on schedule and reinforce that they’re there to learn. That’s their job, and it’s important for them to be there.” Cynthia Miller, an English teacher at a high school near Austin, Texas, also begins with a review of classroom rules—and a sense of celebration.