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"If one doesn't respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect for others." -Ayn Rand

I would have to begin by saying that I really don't agree with the cartoon, but I thought that it provided a topic that I discuss in my classroom, and hopefully is discussed at home as well. That being - RESPECT.

We talk about respecting other people a lot in school, and a great deal of little chats that I have with my sixth graders are about respect. We may be talking about respecting the feelings of another student. We might focus on just respecting elders, or people of authority. My class has heard me talk about other areas of respect, including respecting ones property, space, possessions, family, time, differences, and SELF.

What exactly are we looking at doing when we have these discussions? I call them little chats, because it gives a different "feel" to the room when I say it. "OK, it's time for a little chat." I ask questions, they ask questions, and we discuss the importance of respecting others, and ourselves.

And that is where I think it all begins. We need to respect ourselves first, in order to respect other people. Which is why I am pretty much nothing like the teacher in the cartoon. I have a lot of self pride, and I'm proud to say that I'm a teacher. I feel that I play a relevant role in my community, and do a good job in my profession. I respect myself, and I respect others.

What makes life difficult is when you run into people that don't have any respect. I can picture Rodney Dangerfield saying "I don't get any respect." Well, they need to begin with themselves, and work from there. It just seems to snowball though. They begin by not respecting themselves. Maybe they've had tough luck finding a job, or are unable to stop some sort of addiction, which happens all the time. That doesn't mean you're worthless, but some people take that kind of situation too hard. They lose respect for themselves, and with it, they lose respect for other people. They begin to blame others for things. They disrespect other people, and this just makes things so much worse.

That is one thing that I don't tolerate in my classroom at all. I will not allow someone to disrespect another person, especially me. And to be honest, I can tell if someone respects me or not. If they respect me, then they most likely will receive that same respect from me back. If they don't respect me, I'm not going to respect them.

So, to combat disrespect, we talk about ways to show respect:
  • Complimenting other people.
  • Showing empathy and understanding.
  • Addressing people when being talked to.
  • Removing hats when in public buildings.
  • Apologizing when necessary.
  • Saying "Thank You" and "You're Welcome"
  • Being prepared, and alert.
Among many other things...

"They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them."- Mahatma Gandhi


At 8:32 AM, Blogger Bubble Boy said...

Nice post...

"Give respect, Take respect"

At 8:32 AM, Blogger K said...

Yes, but is it really your place to teach the kids respect? And is it your place to teach the kids WHAT to respect? Just a thought.

I teach sixth grade too, and I stay away from the "values" becuase it's too murky an area for my tastes.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Tachizuno said...

Thanks for the comments... I think it's an important issue.

I don't think I'm actually teaching them K, we're having a "little chat" to remind them.

Sometimes they really do need to be reminded.

I'm not going to tolerate disrespect, and overlook it. For me it has to be done.

Values and morals are totally different in my opinion.

We're dealing more with the behavior side of it. I can't say I'm willing to let that slide, could you?

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Mama Mouse said...

Too often these days I find that the adults don't know how to respect anyone even themselves. If THEY don't know their children more than likely won't know either. The best lessons are taught by example.

If their parents aren't setting the example SOMEONE HAS TO! Its too easy to say that its not our business if the parents don't want to do it. But that is a cop out. Children NEED good examples and role models and sadly too many parents are very BAD examples.

Every adult I came in contact with as a child taught me respect ... and they didn't care if they should or not. A child can't learn if they aren't taught ...

At 3:01 PM, Blogger prying1 said...

I do hope you mention that respect is something that has to be earned and not just handed out willy nilly. - When someone strives for excellence they deserve respect. To just hand it out because a person is breathing does not inspire them to move forward but might instead cause them to sit down.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Tachizuno said...

Does respect really need to be learned? Who should then teach it?

I think respect should be lost, rather than earned. It should start as a basic rule.

I was taught to respect my elders, whether I knew them or not. I didn't wait and see whether they were respectable or not. Waiting to see if the person is worthy is the main problem in the world today.

We were all created equal, right?

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Thanks for the wonderful post. I agree with you that respect should be a given. Even if students are not respectful, their behavior should still be handled with respect and framed that way. How else are students going to learn to be respectful even when they are upset, stressed, etc? I work with K-2 students and we talk about respect regularly within both social and learning interactions. My students are diverse and range from mild learning disabilities to multiple needs. It is so interesting to watch how students react when you show them respect even when there is a problem (they know which teachers are going to listen). We are also showing them a different way of handling conflict or challenges. I also believe that when we acknowledge their efforts and help them to understand their learning styles, we are giving them respect. Every problem is a learning opportunity for all of us and a great way to work on communication skills (a common area of need for LD students). We all need to remember that we all see and process things differently. Your "Let's have a chat" is a great way of initiating your teachable moments.


At 1:07 PM, Blogger percys world said...

thanks for the visit,and hope alls well at home.
a great blog you have here will visit again.

At 3:01 AM, Blogger Kirsten said...

I think just modelling respectful behaviour goes a long way. Some children unfortunately don't get good role models at home. I think it is our responsibility to at least model the corrent behaviour & discuss it, if not actually formally teaching values.

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