Can you imagine a classroom situation where teachers are rude to students and students swear at the teacher?

Just the mere thought of it may make you break out in hives. As a new teacher entering the classroom situation, you need to know exactly what to expect. One thing you will realise from the moment you enter the classroom as a student teacher is that students don't just respect you because you are their teacher.

From your first day, you have to earn the respect of your students and rather quickly too.

It is much easier to earn the respect of foundation phase learners as they do tend to adore their teachers, however, you need to understand it is much harder to earn the respect of high school and college students.

In secondary schools and colleges, in particular, you can end up with some very difficult students and classes and may be forced to lay down the law.

Perhaps there is a way to earn your students' respect from the get-go but this is dependent on the discipline strategies you choose to use.

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How to Earn Respect from Students

         "In an effective classroom students should not only know what they are doing, they should also know why and how." - Harry Wong

Schools are no longer archaic buildings where students learn in fear. In fact, with corporal punishment rules having eased off, teachers have eased off their punishment approaches slightly and students also seem to be more relaxed in the classroom.

Yet the modern classroom is in no way the jungle you would expect it to be since teachers have become more relaxed in their teaching methods.

As a teacher, you decide what tone you set in your classroom. Make sure that you are assertive and firm from the onset. The minute you arrive in class, lay down the rules. It is a great technique to lay down your ground rules, and what it is that you expect from your students.

How should you discipline students?
You don't have to be their favourite teacher and let them get away with everything, just be firm but fair. (Source: jarmoluk)

Try to make sure that you make it clear why certain rules are necessary. Students like to be sure why they need to do something. Teaching is never really all fun and games, you must make sure that your students are clear as to your role as the enforcer of rules. Be sure to provide positive reinforcement to children who tend to adhere to the rules.

“Treetops glisten and children listen to literally nothing. Children don't listen to anything." - Veronica Dearly

Surely, learning how to get children to listen to what you have to say takes time. While we can argue that discipline is a form of liberty, teachers find it hard to give high school students freedom while still making sure that students stay in line.  Therefore when it comes to giving students freedom, don't give them too much.

If you allow students to have too much liberty, the respect that you assume automatically comes with being a teacher goes out the door. Start by being firm and remain that way consistently.

Mutual Respect Between Teachers and Students

You are in a position of authority but remember that respect gets respect. You need to respect your students and ensure that you are always speaking to them properly.

You can show respect to your students by:

  • Deciding where students sit so that you can isolate troublesome students from each other
  • Establish class rules and allow students to be part and parcel of the rule development stage. If learners work with you to develop classroom rules they will be more likely to abide by these rules
  • Try to control the classroom by floating constantly around the classroom so that students know that you are keeping an eye on them
  • Be clear when you explain activities and outcomes for each activity to your students. If students know what they need to do and how to do it, they are less likely to misbehave
  • Know each student by name. To discipline the students, you need to be clear as to what their names are and you need to address them by their names when you talk to them
  • Use different tones of your voice for different situations. You need to speak calmly when students are working well and use a stern tone when students require discipline or seem to lack respect

You are partially responsible for setting the atmosphere of your classroom, therefore ensure that you create the right atmosphere by modeling respect. If you show your students that you respect them, automatically you will teach children to respect you and to show respect to each other. Yes, being a teacher is surely taxing because you literally need to have eyes and ears everywhere and the task of controlling a class doesn't get easier irrespective of how many years of teaching experience you have in the bag.

Find out more about how the way you dress can earn you the respect you deserve.

Respect Teachers

You must admit that you will have far more fruitful lessons when your students respect you and pay attention. You might not realise it but you get children to respect you when you create lessons that are not outdated.

You must constantly stay abreast of developments in your subject and create lessons that speak to the students as well as showcase your knowledge of the subject. If you show your students that you are well-versed in the subject that you are teaching, you automatically gain their respect.

How do you become a good teacher?
Just because you're the teacher, that doesn't mean you know everything. Sometimes, you'll want to attend classes yourself to stay up-to-date with your subject. (Source: nikolayhg)

To be a teacher that earns respect, you must have a solid understanding of that which you are teaching while equally knowing how to get your message across to your students. You also need to explore the different teaching styles and methods until you find teaching styles that suit you and your learners well.

You will need to be sure that you admit to students that you are only human and you can also be unsure of certain things. Telling students when you are unsure of something and that you will inform them once you find out, will gain you more respect from your students who will understand that you are learning like them.

Again one thing that you must teach students is that they should never stop learning and that you are not stopping your learning journey either.

Also you need to ensure that you do know your subject well, you cannot say you don't know almost everything. Students can pick up when you are hesitating to answer a question on subject knowledge and if you constantly need to refer to the textbook to make sure of something. Not knowing your content well will get you to lose your students' respect.

Learn strategies to make your students concentrate better in class.

Setting Ground Rules in the Classroom

In the classroom, more than setting ground rules, what really matters is establishing the right relationships with your students so that they want to follow the classroom rules.

How can you ensure that the ground rules that you have set are followed?

The key to ensuring the ground rules that you set are followed is to make sure to give your students reminders of what these rules are. You can put up a chart on the classroom wall that reflects these rules so that learners are constantly reminded of what these rules are.

How do you plan effective lessons?
The better you plan your lessons, the more engaging your students will find them. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

Always ensure that all children are punished if they transgress and go against the stipulated rules. You need to ensure that you punish all learners equally. Punishment should be enforced if students:

  • Behave disrespectfully
  • Break the rules that were stipulated and set
  • Speak out of turn
  • Disrespect their classmates
  • Defiantly refuse to do some work
  • Submit work late and do not complete homework

As you continue to interact with your students, you will understand that respect is earned over time, but you need to remain firm with the ground rules that you have initially set. If your students feel that you are not taking the ground rules seriously, they will not be willing to follow these rules.

How should you punish students?
Your punishments should be educational while discouraging students from making the same mistakes. (Source: Pexels)

If you are not stern, and you allow your students to believe that they can walk all over you, you might as well say goodbye to the respect that you would have received if you adopted a firmer approach.

It may take you some time to find the right balance between acting like a dictator and allowing your students some liberty. You will also learn when you can act cooler and when you have to enforce classroom ground rules.  Always remember, you can never be friends with your students, so never cross that line. Set your own firm boundaries and be sure not to transgress.

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.