Good teachers know how to gain the respect of the students that they teach. This is a great statement, and is all too true in the world of teaching. The easiest way to get anyone to follow you is to gain the respect of that person. Once a person respects you, they are going to follow you, and they are going to buy into what you are teaching. Even if you have some lofty expectations for your students, they will follow you more if you have their respect.
I remember I had a teacher in 10th grade that was very hard in terms of expectations. She was always pounding away at her note sheets, and it didn’t matter that it was 9th period, she expected that her students give it the same amount of energy that you would give your first class of the day. It was hard enough being 9th period, and you could imagine what a Friday afternoon class would feel like for most of the students.
When I first was in her class, I couldn’t understand how I was going to survive. I remember I met one of my best friends in that class, and of course we would spend a lot of time goofing off in class. The first thing she threatened to do when I was struggling in her class was to split us up. I couldn’t believe that she would separate me from the only thing that was making her class worth going to at the time.
See, I loved history, but I hated some of the units that we were doing at the time. I had enough of European history, and wanted to learn other aspects of history. I wanted to learn the history of Africa, pacific cultures, and other exotic locations. To me it was more important, and exciting, to learn about other cultures instead. Of course, the state says we have to learn about Europe, so that is what we did. And I kept going in that class until I figured something out.
One day I got to class and we had a pretty in-depth discussion about World War II, and I realized she was a smart woman. As the year wore on I realized that I actually enjoyed going to her class, and besides taking a ton of notes I was enjoying learning in that class. At the end of the day I realized that I actually had a lot of respect for her. By the time the finals came I was really prepared, and scored a 97 on it because of the way she prepared us.
There was a lot of work, but there was also a lot of good teaching being done. She knew her stuff, and because of that I was able to respect her more. She was competent and was trying to get us as well prepared for the final that she possibly could. You can’t fault someone for caring, and as long as you can earn respect, you can push people almost as hard as you want.