I think a lot about the word respect, what it means and what it looks like. The definition reads: “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” Some of the synonyms are: esteem, regard, deference, high opinion, admiration, reverence, and honor. After reading that, I wonder what I mean when I tell students they are being disrespectful with their behavior toward other students and toward me.
Being kind and polite are ways to show respect and I expect that from my students as well as reflect it back to them. Do they have to have deep admiration for me? No, but they have to treat me like a human being. I think the Golden Rule applies whether or not there is esteem, admiration or reverence. Yesterday we wrote about what the world needs more of and what it needs less of. I think the world needs more kindness and less insult. I do my best to practice the behavior I want to see in my students. I think the world needs less grumbling of derogatory comments and more get out of your selfishness and listen to others.
Yes, I get that this is their time to thrive, their time to explore who it is they want to be, their time to need to belong to social groups, their time to keep their world wide-open to possibility. But, do they have to run their peers and me over in the process? Most of my students are actually very polite and caring toward each other and to me. I like them and they are so interesting to talk to. I wish and I pray, that those few who stand on the brink of rude and mean will figure it out. In the meantime, they can write about it.