The “R” in our C.A.R.E.S Culture stands for “Respect”. One of the things that I often see missing in interpersonal relations is respect for the other person. I don’t think this is a new problem but rather a growing one. My father only lasted one year as a high school teacher in the public school system because of the lack of respect that he experienced from students. My Dad’s experience reminded me of the experience of another new high school teacher, a former Marine:
“After retiring, a former Gunny Sergeant in the Marine Corps took a new job as a high school teacher.
Just before the school year started, he injured his back. He was required to wear a light plaster cast around the upper part of his body. Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn’t noticeable when he wore his suit coat.
On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school.
The smart-aleck punks, having already heard the new teacher was a former Marine, were leery of him and he knew they would be testing his discipline in the classroom.
Walking confidently in the rowdy classroom, the new teacher opened the window wide and sat down at his desk. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he picked up a stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.
Dead silence… the rest of the year went smoothly.”
This humorous story made me laugh but the other take-away I got from it is respect must be earned. The former Marine, now teacher, demonstrated that he was tough. As educators we all need to know our students and how to get their attention and respect and that is exactly what the former Marine did.
When we respect others we are more open to learning from them and having better communication with them.