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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Barr (M.A. M.Ed)

Earn Respect, Cultivate Curiosity! The Goal of Great Educators.

A common misconception I have come across in my career is teachers believing they have an automatic right to be listened to, obeyed and respected. When children don't do this they become enraged, blaming the children for being disrespectful, the school for lack of discipline support and parents for spoiling their children. Great educators understand that respect goes both ways and we have to give it to really earn it from others. Those who cultivate curiosity create the learning conditions for great student teacher relationships and education success.

Firstly, the right to be listened to is not a privilege for the teacher but everyone. A teacher cannot go into a classroom and expect children to listen without affording children the same right. Being a good listener is more than hearing what someone says it's also interpreting what they don't say, their body language and mood. A responsive educator gives children what they need not only what they intend to teach. Sometimes that might even mean taking the class outside and letting them running around and relax if they are stressed or needing a break.

Secondly, we don't want to educate children to simply obey perceived power. We want children to question and challenge things in the world, the same way we want educators to question and challenge the status quo of how learning happens. This is how we move education forward. Schools that embrace this are schools that continually improve. It could be how they handle behavior management or even teaching children to read.

Thirdly, respect is important and has different levels. Students should respect the teacher as a person, a fellow human being. They should also respect the teacher for their role in society, dedicating their life and career to children. The teacher must also respect each student as a human being, their unique (child) development as well as understand the immediate experiences they have had. For example, if a teacher has a class last period who are a "nightmare" maybe it's because they have spent the whole day being told what to do. Understanding the students life and what they go through each day is important. Look beyond your goals for a class and take in all relevant information. Don't immediately go to the notion that the children are the problem.


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