With all the confusion of what constitutes good teaching in a classroom these days, complicated by metrics that have little to do with anything, I have learned through the years that the carrot and stick approach works best.
Here's the carrot, grown by a student.
Each year we get one or two, grown by patient students who see to it that their little plant survives these dark wintry months.
And here's the stick:
My Dad's slide rule sits on my desk. Any student can play with it anytime, and they do. It does what it's supposed to do, and continues to do it well, well over 50 years later.
There's joy in a tool that works well in the hands that know it.
Not sure the kids see the joy in the tool, but they recognize the joy in me every time I pick it up.
Some days I think a kid getting the chance to see a happy adult is reason enough for me to be there.