I'm the new form teacher of 5 Joy and I must say that I've done things very atypically so far. New teachers are warned not to smile, joke or do anything that can give away the fact that they are actually human, especially during the first week.
Well, guess what? I did - and I feel much better for it. I have chosen to take the trust-trustworthiness equilibrum with this class and with my tolerance for behaviour also going up, this has resulted in a less threatening classroom environment. As one student put it, they don't even dare raise hands in another class. I introduced the notion of appropriate and inappropriate noise, so they know how they should react to different situations.
Slowly but surely the tide is turning from ignorant apathy to daring responsibility. Students are beginning to tale risks as they know they won't get shot down if they get an answer wrong, because they realise I'm rewarding them for the effort.
I've also impressed on them that interesting lessons require a partnership - participative students and an interactive teacher. They responded well to my Maths lesson today, even though it's a simple manipulation of practice of fraction-decimal conversion. Didn't take too much time and effort to plan either.
I really hope to keep this up, and once the class desktop and e-Beam are up, who knows? The sky's the limit.