“My students don’t respect me.” It’s one of the most common complaints teachers have. Staff-rooms in schools and colleges witness lengthy discussions, and sometimes, even debates between groups of teachers – experienced and beginners alike – about why students don’t respect teachers? Many teachers argue that the old school way of taking stern action against students is the only way to address the issue. But unfortunately, things aren’t always what they appear. So, what’s the solution? I’ll explain in this article.
Let’s face it.
Students can be stubborn at times, especially when it comes to respecting their teachers.
Teachers often wonder why there’s a lack of respect for teachers in today’s world?
Tell me, do you also often find yourself thinking:
“I am doing everything I could to help my students in the best way possible, but still, my students don’t respect me. Am I doing something wrong?”
I know it can be frustrating, especially if you’re a new teacher, but believe me, getting admiration from your students is not that hard. A little bit of teaching advice is all you need, and soon you’ll notice a lot of improvement.
Before we begin, I would encourage you to think for a moment if you talk negatively about your students. i.e.
“These kids are too difficult to handle.”
“They don’t listen to you.”
“I don’t know what to do with these guys. They are arrogant and disobedient. Regard for the teachers, huh, forget it.”
So you expect your students to show you some respect, right?
“Of course! Why on earth am I teaching them and frying my brains 7-8 hours a day?”
Well, you being a teacher doesn’t always necessarily mean they owe you.
You see, respect is not a commodity that you can demand, but instead, it’s something you must earn.
I’ll explain but first, ask yourself:
Do You Respect Yourself as a Teacher?
“Woah, Woah…hang on! I think I have not made myself clear. It’s not about me; it’s about my students.”
The question is why students don’t respect teachers?
But, my dear friend, you need to realise that people treat you the way you treat yourself.
So, ask yourself:
- “Do I appreciate myself?”
- “How can I treat myself with more dignity?”
- “Should I pay attention to how I dress up?”
And most importantly the question of questions:
- “Do I even like myself?” (Smiling? So you saw that coming, huh?)
If You Want Your Students to Respect You, Then You Must Respect Yourself as a Teacher.
Want Respect? How About Giving it?
“What the hell? I am the teacher here, and you are asking me to respect them?”
Let me remind you: You get what you give.
Will you admire somebody who says to you:
- You are a duffer.
- I don’t think you can do anything in life.
- Stop wasting your father’s money.
- Why don’t you start thinking about something else?
- You are good for nothing, and, blah, blah, blah.
I know it sounds strange, but if you want something, start giving it.
Give Your Students Hope
“Give them what?”
“Hope? Are you serious? Is this some religiosity crap?”
No, it’s not.
You see, hope is a catalyst that keeps students motivated. Tell them, that as a teacher, you know:
- Life is hard
- There’s a lot of competition in every field, and there are not enough jobs in the market
- Politicians are ruining everything and,
- The world is full of shit.
But there’s still hope and always will be. Just get into your students’ shoes for a while and think – which teacher will you admire and trust?
One who makes you feel hopeless.
The one who inspires hope in you.
Learn Something New Every Day
“Don’t you think it’s counter-intuitive, shouldn’t the students be doing all the learning?”
Well, this article is not about your students, it’s about you – The Teacher. (You’re the one who’s depressed that his students don’t show him the courtesy, right?)
You see, we’re living in the technology age. There’s a humongous amount of information out there – internet, eBooks, blogs, websites, wikis, books, manuals, journals, magazines – the list is endless.
Most of the information is general, not specific.
Students search for particular information that is useful to them, but finding accurate data is hard, and that’s why they rely on you. The more you learn, the more you can share with your students, and that makes a hell of a difference.
The students need a teacher who can cut the crap and can give them what they need. The question is: are you, one such teacher?
No matter what people say about honesty, it still is the best policy. (At least when you deal with your students).
Tell your students that you had also failed at times in your student life.
Also, tell your students they need to work hard in the right direction to get successful. Don’t comfort and pamper them all the time – you must make them realise their strengths and weaknesses. And remember that there will be times when you must strike them (Not physically, of course).
Do what’s right for them, not what looks right to them.
It’s OK to pamper and say beautiful things about them once in a while, but at the same time, they should also know where they stand – as a teacher, you need to push them off limits.
Help the students come out of their comfort zones; they might even hate you for this in the beginning, but sooner or later they will realise that whatever you did was for their highest good.
Let Your Students Learn to Make Decisions for Themselves
Your students want you to be on their side at all times because that way they feel secure and taken care of, but you going overboard on this may affect their decision-making ability.
Help them enough for those science projects, annual speech preparations, and unit tests. Let them know that a teacher is like a loving gardener who waters the plants and takes good care of them.
But also make them realise that when a storm comes, the plants need to face the wind on their own. That’s how you can prepare them for life’s challenges.
If, even after applying the tips mentioned above, your students are still not respecting you, then maybe it’s not about the students – it’s about you – the teacher.
Are you sure teaching is the right profession for you?
Then why not find yourself a better job in a field of your liking? It’d be a smarter move than wasting your days and nights wondering why your students don’t respect you.