Sunday, September 8, 2013

Respect in the Classroom

I'm two weeks into the school year. No one can prepare you for the work and exhaustion that goes into the first weeks. I am desperately trying to teach my students respect. Right now our focus is on being quiet and listening when others are speaking. Sharing at morning meeting is great practice for this. Over the course of a week, each student gets the chance to share something from their life and the rest of us practice quietly listening and thinking of follow up questions.
We are building the culture of our school around respect. Each student begins and ends the day by shaking his/her teacher's hand.  As much as possible, each teacher is giving individual feedback and positive reinforcement to each student.
My Kindergarteners have had little to no prior school experience and are having trouble adjusting to school. They are a very talkative bunch with a few students who wander around the room and very few of them actually clean up when I tell them to. I know they need time to adjust, but I wasn't sure they were really getting the message of respect. They certainly didn't seem to be showing it to me by wandering and not following my directions. Then, one day this last week, I was giving a direction and one of the Kindergarteners asked me to say please. It was a big lightbulb moment for me. As frustrated and exhausted as I was, I realized that I still needed to model respectful language to the students. I was also very proud to hear that this student had been hearing my messages about speaking respectfully.  It is much harder to show respect than to talk about expecting it.
The lesson for me this week is that no one is perfect. I was feeling very inadequate and incapable this week, but I know that we all need time to adjust to a new school and new community members. I still have high hopes for this class and look forward to this coming week of lessons and successes. I hope you are having an excellent beginning to your school year and are continuing to learn about yourself and those in your community.



  1. Really enjoyed this post, it's hard to be so patient and yet trust that things are sinking in. I teach first and have so much respect for you Kinder teachers because you guys start from SCRATCH with your kiddos. I'm thankful you guys get them ready for me in 1st!

    1. Patience and trust is hard this time of year. I have a lot of respect for Kinder teachers with large class sizes.
      Thanks for stopping by to leave a note! I hope your year is off to a great start!