All teachers as some point in time feel that respect is an issue in their classroom. An article in Education Leadership shares stories about when disrespect turned into respect.
The stories shared in the article are encouraging anecdotes of educators turning the tables on disrespectful behavior. Suggestions given include keeping one’s cool, focusing on kindness, and never giving up. Each anecdote is short but powerful in demonstrating just how teachers can take back some power in those situations where parents and/or students feel it’s okay to show disrespect.
An example of the kinds of stories is below:
Show How Respect Looks
During my last year working in an elementary school, I worked with a 6th grade teacher to address her students’ blatant disrespect. We began by focusing on body language. We practiced “poses” and discussed what each one conveyed. I would ask for a specific attitude, such as “bored,” and the class would show it by how they sat or slouched in their seats. We agreed that slumped stature and rolling eyes were not ways to show respect. We then discussed word choice and tone. Combining their knowledge of body language, tone, and word choice, the students worked in groups to produce two skits for different scenarios. One skit showed how it looks when a person does not show respect; the second demonstrated how different the situation can be if a person does show respect. The students enjoyed the experience, and expressions of disrespect decreased in the classroom.
—Liz Shockey, literacy specialist, Smekens Education Solutions, Warren, Indiana
Although the seasons have changed, it is not too late to foster an environment of respect in your classroom. Read the stories in this article and search for ideas that will work in your classroom. There is so much good information straight from educators that it’s hard to imagine there’s not something in there that can help any teacher struggling with a disrespect issue.
What are practices you employ to institute respect among your students? What part does classroom community play in improving respect? Which anecdote is most helpful to you?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center and he can always count on Candy for some good teaching resources.