“What can we do to get our students to be more respectful?” Many educators complain that students talk back, misbehave, and “act out” with little regard for his or her teacher or classmates.
“What have you done to earn their respect”?
The truth is…times have changed. Long gone are the days when a teacher’s presence alone demanded respect -- from students as well as their parents. Today, in a society where good morals are on the decline and self-centeredness is on the incline, we can’t afford to educate students the way our teachers did “back in the day.” We have to get respect the hard way -- we have to earn it.
One of the best ways to earn a student’s respect in the classroom is by being the kind of person your students want to become. Character is something money can’t buy, but everyone admires and respects -- even if they don’t like you personally.
That is one of the most basic principles of successful teaching; however, it’s one of the most difficult lessons for new teachers to learn. The truth of the matter is, whenever we step into a classroom or in front of a group of students (especially middle and high school students), they’re already “sizing us up” to see how they will treat and respond to us.
The first question a student has in his or her mind when first meeting you is “Who are you?” You need to generate a response that’s much greater than the sound of your name. you’re going to have to earn the respect of your students.
Who you are to them must speak louder than the actual words you use. In other words, the presence of your character should speak before you ever utter your first word. How you walk, look, stand, dress, act, speak, respond, and even smell when you enter your school always should produce the response, “I want that.” Or, at the very least, it should say, “She’s different.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean you will be respected, but at least you will gain your students’ attention long enough for them to listen to what you have to say about respect. If students get the impression you don’t respect yourself, they’ll conclude that they don’t have to respect you either.
The next couple of questions students ask themselves to determine whether or not they will respect you is, “Why is what you’re teaching me important?” and “Do you mean what you say?”
You can draw your own conclusions about why your answers to those questions are critical to building your credibility in the classroom. You must immediately address all three of those questions, and you must do it clearly, confidently, and concisely. Your respect and your reputation in the classroom depend on it. So teach with passion, and remember to practice what you teach.