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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 23 2011

Like vs Respect…Mutually exclusive?

So my 9th period is one of my more challenging ones. It’s late in the afternoon, very overcrowded and full of…characters. I love them to pieces, but they’re always a handful.

Yesterday, an unidentified student (or students) kept making this noise that sounded like a vibrating phone. I couldn’t tell for the life of me who it was or how they were making the noise. I had an idea of which class clown it was, but couldn’t pinpoint the perpetrator. The noise continued and people (most likely the ones that were doing it) kept complaining about how the “phone” was distracting them. So that continued most of the period generating much disruption.

Today, in the middle of a student presentation, the noise started again. When it was time for me to teach/ introduce new material, I heard it again. I was fed up and reached the point of making irrational teacher threats.

“I put it on everything that I love, if I hear that noise one more time, I’m NOT going to teach. If you know who the person is, feel free to write me a private note.”

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I thought “Crap! That was THE dumbest teacher move ever. Clearly someone’s going to do it again just to make me fulfill my threat.”

But the Teacher Angels were on my side today. I continued the lesson and at the end of class, I realized…..the noise NEVER happened again.
I was in awe.

I feel like some students might have thought I meant I was going to quit my job altogether when I said “NOT going teach”. Nevertheless, it made me feel good that they held such high regards for me as a teacher; even the troublemakers.

I recently began reading a book called “Teaching With Love and Logic”. It talks about how one of the myths that teachers believe is that students don’t need to like you as long as they respect you. I’m realizing more and more why this really is a myth. If your students like you, they will do nearly anything to please you, even if it’s what they would not normally do for a teacher.

I worry a lot about how my rookie status, my close rapport with students, and my age proximity to them might impact their respect for me as a teacher. I used to get defeated when I see students who are often tardy or rowdy in my class be on time or silent for other veteran teachers’ classes. But then instances like today’s happen. And I realize that “respect” can be shown in different ways. And I think I’m just fine with how they express their respect for me and my class. :-D

Half day tomorrow, then Thanksgiving break. Woohoo!
Here’s to hoping the kiddos aren’t too off the wall tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

One Response

  1. Kurt (Community Manager)

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Greater Newark
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