This is an article in the Total Teacher Transformation series. Click here for a complete table of contents.
As discussed last time, part of gaining respect from students comes from being respectful. The second element of earning the respect of your students (and their parents), comes from being respectable. No amount of courtesy to your students can overcome a disrespectable personality!
So what are some character traits we should be modeling?
Competence – Knowing your content area is vital. If you are a band director, you need to have some sort of clue how to play an instrument. If you are an English teacher, you ought to be reading regularly. If you are a history teacher, you should have some sort of historical understand.
Poise – When you are talking, slow things down. You don’t need to be in a hurry all the time. The more relaxed you are, the more control you feel in the given situation. The more control you feel, the more control you will ultimately have.
Passion – Love your subject matter. It’s that simple. If you do, then it will show itself in your teaching. Your students will come to love the same things you do (even middle school kids)! If you are stuck in a job, it will become quite evident to the students as well. Don’t let it happen. Make whatever changes are necessary, but don’t allow yourself to stay in a setting you can’t stand.
Care – If you have the three above, and don’t care about teaching students, it simply will not work. If you care about the children, then the above three will begin to fall into place. This is really where it all becomes real. They won’t care what you know until they know that you care. Cheesy, trite, perhaps. But it’s still pretty much dead on also.
Find some ways you can personally be more respectable. Watch others you know whom you deeply respect and try to figure out why it is that you respect those people. Try to emulate some of those characteristics and apply them directly to your teaching.