Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Respecting the Student

A few things today have made me think about respect today.

First, I heard a story on NPR, about a book someone wrote where she studied minimum wage works at a burger chain and followed up with them at 4 and 8 years.  One of the stories she told was about a woman who became a manager of the burger chain, and then took a job at Starbucks.  At Starbucks she made more money, but she felt like she was not respected.  She said people didn't listen to her ideas about how to improve the way they served customers because of who she was and where she came from.  So, she went back to her lower paying manager job at the burger chain.  Why?  Because she felt respected there.

Second, I cam across this math teachers blog, http://coxmath.blogspot.com.  I read maybe about 15 of his posts and one thing became apparently clear from his blog, he respects his students.  I didn't read his profile, so I have no idea who or where he teaches.  This teacher is the kind of math teacher we all wish we had in high school.  He loves math, believes in his students, and genuinely works hard to be a good teacher.

I know that my students, when I taught at alternative schools, did not feel respected by the school we were in and the path that brought them there.  I was unable to overcome the disrespect my students felt in the larger system, and translate it into respect in my classroom.  Thinking back, I don't know exactly what I would have done different, but I want to think about it.

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