Why Respecting Students Is Essential for Teacher Effectiveness

Teacher Standing in Front of a Class of Raised Hands
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Respecting students is essential for boosting teacher effectiveness. It seems today that the media jumps at every opportunity to showcase an educator who has made a poor decision in judgment. One of the most prevalent issues highlighted is that of a teacher continuously berating or disrespecting a student or group of students. This type of behavior is unacceptable. All educators expect their students to be respectful to them, but some fail to realize that this is a two-way street. All educators should show their students respect at all times including tense moments of conflict.

Conduct a search on Google or YouTube for “teacher abuse” and the number of examples you will find of such unprofessional conduct is embarrassing to the profession. Educators should be adult enough, professional enough, and smart enough not to conduct themselves in this manner. In an age where every student has a cell phone, it only takes one time to find yourself on YouTube, embarrassed, and out of a job. Teachers must think before they react and choose their words carefully.

How to Build Strong, Trusting Student-Teacher Relationships

Sometimes we forget where many of these students come from and the situations that they deal with on a daily basis. School should be a safe haven and kids should trust all of their administrators, teachers, and staff members. Every kid is different and these differences should be embraced. If all kids were the same our jobs would be boring. It is important to realize that there are tremendous differences between each individual student and with each individual class. A 3rd grader cannot handle what a 6th grader can handle and so on.

Try to have patience and understanding when dealing with a student. Before you say anything, take a deep breath, think about your response, and choose your words carefully. Your tone matters as much as what you say.

We expect our students to be respectful to us and we should, in turn, be respectful to them at all times. This isn’t always easy, but you must always handle interactions with students in a positive manner. You should never berate or embarrass a student. It is best to address them separately from the class. The key is to talk to them, not down to them.

Kids are going to make mistakes. It would be ignorant to think that they won’t. You are setting yourself and them up for failure if you do. There is a difference between having high expectations and having unrealistic expectations. Preconceived notions can and will destroy a relationship with a student. Everyone deserves a second chance. Allow someone this chance and you will find that they will surprise you more often than not.

Educators should always strive to build positive, trusting relationships with their students. Some of these relationships take time to build and others are relatively easy. Respect is always the key. A teacher becomes so much more effective when they can earn a classes respect.

Reasons Why Teachers Lose the Respect of Their Students

There are several things that a teacher can do to lose their students’ respect. Doing any of these things can lead you on a path towards disaster. It is best to avoid the following practices:

  • Never treat students differently based on personal interests.
  • Do not create rules that can be perceived as unfair.
  • Never misuse your authority.
  • Do not ignore a student.
  • Never avoid smiling and being friendly with your students.
  • Do not yell or scream.
  • Do not have a negative attitude on a consistent basis.
  • Do not be afraid to apologize or admit when you make a mistake.
  • Never become friends with students when they are in your class.
  • Never give control over to your students.
  • Do not be hypocritical.
  • Do not say anything that you would not want to be recorded and played back.
  • Do not humiliate or berate students in an attempt to get them to behave.
  • Never use sarcasm.
  • Do not use profanity.
  • Do not violate a student’s personal space.
  • Do not gossip, discuss, or complain about other teachers in front of your students.
  • Never issue vindictive or counterproductive threats.
  • Do not hold things against a student that is beyond their control.

How Teacher Can Earn Their Students' Respect

There are several things that a teacher can do to earn their students’ respect. Doing these things will lead you on a path toward mutual respect and it will maximize a teacher’s overall effectiveness. It is best to engage in the following practices:

  • Have a Positive Attitude: An educator who has a positive attitude toward their students and their job will be more effective. All of us have bad days, but we should still strive to remain positive even on our worst days.
  • Be Consistent: Students must know what your expectations are on a daily basis. Be inconsistent will lose their respect and attention faster than just about anything.
  • Be Fair: Treat every student the same when dealing with the same situation. Giving out a different set of consequences for the same actions will undermine your authority.
  • Have a Sense of Humor: Having a sense of humor can be disarming. Students will naturally look forward to coming to your class and learning if they know that you aren’t uptight and rigid.
  • Be Flexible: Teachers that aren’t flexible are setting themselves and their students up for failure. Things happen in life that is beyond anyone’s control. Be sensitive to every situation and be willing to adapt and veer from your scheduled plans when necessary.
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Your Citation
Meador, Derrick. "Why Respecting Students Is Essential for Teacher Effectiveness." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/respecting-students-is-essential-for-boosting-effectiveness-3194682. Meador, Derrick. (2020, August 27). Why Respecting Students Is Essential for Teacher Effectiveness. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/respecting-students-is-essential-for-boosting-effectiveness-3194682 Meador, Derrick. "Why Respecting Students Is Essential for Teacher Effectiveness." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/respecting-students-is-essential-for-boosting-effectiveness-3194682 (accessed March 22, 2023).