Eye of the Tiger: Selling the Brand


I want to start my “vision statement” with the kind of impression I want to make upon my students. How do I want them to feel about the Teacher Tom experience?

First Impressions

I’ve learned that first impressions are critical, and so I’ll be meticulously planning out my first few weeks. I want students to feel that I am in control, and that I have a very clear set of boundaries and expectations. I want to dominate the game early and keep pressing and setting the pace. That said, I also want students to get the impression that my class is streamlined — that I’m not about making them jump through hoops or suffering through B.S.

In the Thick

Over time, I’d like students to realize that I’m on their side, that I want each of them to succeed and learn and grow. I’d like each student to feel like I recognize them as a unique individual, and that I let them play to their strengths while addressing their difficulties. I’d like them to feel like I am helpful, available, and understanding. But I’d also like them to feel like I am exacting, challenging, and relentless. I’d like my classes to have a “serious fun” vibe — full of substance and energy. Finally, I’d like students to feel that as much as I expect them to do their jobs, I do mine — that I always come prepped and ready.


I’d like students to feel, in hindsight, that they learned some valuable things and that I maintained the continuity of their academic career. I’d like students to feel like I prepared them for the next year, and maybe even beyond that.

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