Teaching is a different ballgame for everyone. Many would agree that being a teacher is one of the noblest career paths one can take. If, of course, you love teaching, that is. College professors are not only some of the most respected people in our society, but also hold the treasure of countless contacts in the industry consisting of their ex-students.
However, while students should, of course respect teachers, you also need to respect your students. Why? Glad you asked. As you shape young minds, showing respect will help you lead by example, enable healthy debates within class, and enable them to freely ask questions.
You don’t have to have a doctorate in K12 education leadership to realise that respect goes both ways. So let’s go over some examples of how to treat students with the respect they deserve in order to get the same yourself.
1. Cater to Their Needs
The top way to respect and earn respect is by catering to your students’ individual needs. This could mean taking the time to get to know each one. Every individual is unique, so understand their unique learning styles, weaknesses and strengths. Take time to know their goals in life and ambitions.
Also, provide them with the resources they need in order to succeed, such as study materials and educational tech tools. It’s also important to create a safe and welcoming environment for all, so that they feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgement or ridicule. If you think a particular student is a slow learner, help them with extra study material or right resources without judging them.
Showing respect for your students means listening to their ideas and opinions, valuing their input when making decisions about the curriculum or classroom activities. In fact, the best universities (like Harvard) always take student feedback about professors, which is taken very seriously when keeping or firing professors. Through respect, you can showcase that you value each student as an individual; and are committed to helping them reach their potential.
2. Use Positive Humor
Positive humor can be a great way to show respect to your students. But make sure that respect is not fake; so your humor should always be used in a positive way. For example, instead of ridiculing a student to create humor, lightly make fun of yourself, or if something is lacking on campus, call that out to create humorous situations. Ask the students to chime in with their funny weekend stories!
This can help create an atmosphere of trust and understanding, which is essential for any learning environment. Plus, who doesn’t love funny teachers? We all have a teacher we remember and love the most from our own school or college, who was funny, but still taught really well. It’s a hard thing to achieve this balance, but not impossible. You don’t have to be a Snape, but you can still be as funny as Dumbledore!
When used correctly, humor can also be a powerful tool for teaching and reinforcing important concepts. For example, if you’re teaching fractions, you could use humorous examples to illustrate the concept in a fun and engaging way. Humor can also help build relationships between teachers and students because it shows that you care enough to take the time to make them laugh and enjoy their time in the class.
Finally, humor can be used as an effective stress reliever during difficult times or when students are feeling overwhelmed, like during exams. Using positive humor in the classroom humanizes you, instead of posing you as a serious boring person!
3. Provide Them with Honest Feedback
Honest feedback is perhaps as important a part of teaching as instruction itself. Feedback helps students understand their strengths and weaknesses, and encourages them to work on improving. But given the wrong way, feedback can really harm the student’s mood and discourage them. So how to make sure you’re giving it right, without holding back?
Well, my writing professor at MIT gave this tip when we were critiquing each other in class, and I use this tip even now while critiquing my employees at SAM, or teach them how to critique each other. Here’s what he told us, “Start with positive feedback first. Then move on to the negatives, but focus on the delivery – make sure it comes across as constructive critique with helpful tips.”
Keep the criticism concise and avoid repeating the negatives. If they try to give reasons or take it personally, just accept their reasoning without argument. Honest feedback also helps build trust between the teacher and student, as it shows that the teacher cares about the student’s progress and wants them to succeed. Furthermore, this can help motivate students to do better in school by giving them a clear understanding of what they need to work, where they can improve.
Most importantly, feedback can help foster a sense of accountability among students; they will be more likely to take responsibility for their own learning if they know that their teacher is providing accurate and constructive criticism that they can act on.
5. Praise Their Achievements
Praise is an important part of building any relationship, be it personal, professional or academic. Especially between younger and older individuals. Praising helps lead to better learning outcomes. When you praise a student for their hard work or success, it will encourage them to do better next time, as that dopamine rush of being praised is addictive. It’s called “positive reinforcement”, and my mom uses it on children too.
It will also boost their self-esteem and confidence, which can help them become successful! Additionally, it’ll show them you care about their progress and are an invested teacher. This can create a sense of trust between you and them, making it easier for them to come to you with questions or concerns they may have about their studies or even about personal issues.
Respect is all about showing care to your students. Respect becomes more and more important as students grow older, such as high school or older, because their sense of self-worth increases with age. So I hope these tips will help you show care to them, and be respected by your students in return. Thankfully, it’s easier than it sounds!