PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Newly hired teachers about to swing open their classrooms in the Philadelphia School District received pep talks from the people they look up to, at the beginning of a five-day New Hire Orientation event.

Schools Superintendent Dr. William Hite set the tone, with comforting words.

“Know this, we were better educators in the fifth year, than we were in the first year,” said Hite.

Better, Dr. Hite says, because they will “connect, share and grow.”

“As we work, we grow, and as we connect and share, we grow together, and we become better at our work,” he said.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan then stepped to the podium.

“Welcome to the School District and the PFT!” said Jordan.

Jordan left them with a thought, in part quoting Haim Ginott, an educator and child psychologist, who determined a teacher is “a decisive element in the classroom.”

“‘…It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal,'” said Jordan.

Jordan reminded the teachers to think about “the weather they’re creating in the classroom.”

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Among the new hires, Sara Kortesluoma.

“I’m nervous,” she said.

She’s switching careers, transitioning from advising college students about study abroad issues, to a North Philadelphia K-8 school.

“At Meade I will be a Social Studies teacher in the middle grades,” she said.

Jacob Hernandez just graduated from Temple University, as a music education major, with an emphasis on Jazz.

“I’m going to be a classroom instrumental music teacher, hopping from school to school,” said Hernandez.

About 90 percent of the 650 new to the District pre-K to 12th grade teachers and counselors at the orientation session have their assignments for the new school year.

By Steve Tawa