Respect, Again

What are some easy or simple things that you can do as the leader or boss that can set the tone for a respectful and positive learning environment?

Respect will be the foundational concept of my classroom.

I believe that all too often the love and importance of learning is lost in the rush for both students and teacher to achieve their narrow survival-based goals.  Respect for the learning, respect for the process, and respect for the subject matter will keep the focus on the importance and joy of learning.

I believe a teacher’s respect for students is all too often at least occasionally lost to the frustration of unmet behavioral and/or learning expectations.  However, it is the adult’s job to be the adult.  The students are children and entitled to their native behaviors.  Managing and evolving those native behaviors is one of the teacher’s responsibilities.  The uneven development of improved behavioral patterns must not be allowed to break affinity with the students or lead to disrespectful behavior by the teacher.

Students in my classroom will behave with respect towards each other.  There is no room in my heart for hurtful, isolating behaviors in the classroom or elsewhere.  Disagreements will be resolved through communications.  Each child’s personality will be cherished as a unique expression of humanity.  There will be no requirement of friendship, but there will be an inviolable requirement of respect.

In all these regards, the teacher is the example for the students and the protector of the behavioral code.  To have any reasonable hope of a respectful classroom society, the teacher needs to consistently model respectful behavior.  This includes behavior towards the material, towards the craft and discipline of teaching, towards the students, and towards peers, parents, and all others.  I believe children recognize and prefer the decency and safety of a respectful environment.  For respect to become the operating principle, they simply need come to trust that all will be held to that standard.  A teacher who models respect and strictly protects that fragile code of behavior will earn that trust.

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