I’m a teacher, and have been for the past decade (that sounds so long). One thing that is a huge pet peeve of mine and many of my colleagues is students who don’t have enough respect – not just for teachers, but for peers and for themselves.
Respect is a focus of our school this year. As a Christian school, the number one thing is respect for God, but we also talk about respecting teachers, others, and self – not just in words, but in actions.
Students need to respect teachers. They are the authority in the classroom, and it’s very grating as a teacher to give directions and have students immediately start to whine and protest. They need to respect others by being honest – but also be refraining from saying hurtful things, even if they are honest. They also need to have self-respect, which means they need to give everything their best effort.
The end result? Happier teachers, more successful students, and fewer calls home. So how can you, as parents, help instill respect?
First of all, explain what it looks like – and model it. If you’re frustrated with other people, express those frustrations constructively and civilly. Let your kids see you interact or describe interactions with your supervisors and other adults in your life. Secondly, explain why it’s important. Even though your kids may not love every task they need to do at school, it’s still important that they try their best, to have the most chance of success – not just in that class, but also to learn important skills for future learning. They may not like all of their classmates, but they need to learn to handle conflicts respectfully now – current events show us just why that’s something important to pass on to the next generation. Finally, ask your kids’ teachers. Although it may not be something that they bring up unless there’s a major behavioral issue, it may surprise you to hear how big of a difference such a seemingly small thing can make.