What does respect look and sound like in a classroom? It is easy to define or capture disrespect, but how can we highlight those examples of respect so that they become more prominent? It begins with acknowledging that students need to feel and believe that they are valued in the classroom for who they are and that their unique identities and perspectives are appreciated. In like manner, understanding and accepting that teachers nurture relationships and build respectful communities in different and unique ways is important.
Last week, I walked in a fifth grade classroom where students were reflecting on their role in the design of their learning environment. I have to admit, these students were precious as they led this conversation like little adults. They knew they could not have everything they wanted in their classroom, but deeply appreciated the partnership their teacher created with them in setting up the classroom layout and design. When I asked the students how it felt to have their voice considered in the process, they responded with words such as “awesome” and “amazing.” One student gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up while another shared his dramatic monologue. The teacher said very little, but focused on capturing the feedback. She cared what her students thought, and it is safe to say those feelings were mutual.
Another teacher will not be able to recreate this scene in their classroom. Creating a Climate of Respect suggests that respect “is not something that one can imitate, but something one must embody…. It is only in the individual acts of respect that the quality becomes actual.”
How will you embody respect? Share your thoughts and ideas this week knowing that I look forward to learning from you.
Cardillo, R., Cohen, J., Pickeral, T. (2016) Creating a Climate of Respect. Educational Leadership. Retrieved from: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept11/vol69/num01/Creating-a-Climate-of-Respect.aspx