How to teach children to respect their teachers

It is common knowledge that teachers are some of the most stressed professionals in our country. They face abuse of various kinds on a daily basis and one cannot deny that this is having a profound impact on an education system that is already struggling.

In addition, and perhaps even more worrying is the steady increase in incidents of verbal and emotional disrespect shown toward teachers by the learners in their care. Education in South Africa is being compromised and it is time for parents to step in and step up to help rectify the problem before it becomes completely unmanageable.

According to Cindy Glass, Owner and Founder of Step Up Education Centres, “Education is the root of success. It is an essential tool which, when delivered and received correctly, could change the face of poverty and other challenges that face our country at this time. The benefits of a good education can never be underestimated and ensuring that learners respect their teachers is an essential and most necessary step if we are to make positive progress in learning”.

She gives the following things to consider when teaching your child to respect their teachers:

  1. You are your child’s first and longest-lasting teacher. Your child needs your guidance and assistance in learning the value of respecting self and others. It is important to remember that our children are likely to do what we do, rather than what we say. Encourage respect of teachers by respecting your child’s teachers. Avoid teacher-bashing conversations and seek to find positive solutions to challenges that present themselves. Teach your child that, no matter the circumstance, there is always a way to find a solution.
  2. Teachers are human too. They have an enormous responsibility to assist your child in becoming the best version of themselves. Teachers make mistakes. Disrespectful comments and abusive behaviors are not the solution. Open communication is needed to find ways of assisting both parties in achieving the desired outcomes in learning.
  3. Every choice that we make defines the path of our lives. All negative behaviours are based on fear, low self-esteem, self-defeating and destructive self-talk and low self-value. We need to teach our children to own their mistakes and choices and to avoid blaming others for their shortfalls. Taking frustrations out on their teachers only exasperates their difficulties whereas they could find wisdom and assistance with their teacher instead. Learners need to recognise and acknowledge that challenges are a part of growth and learning. There are always ways to seek and receive the help that they need, without a show of disrespect to anyone.

Disrespect reflects their character, not the teachers. Teach your children that disrespecting & abusing teachers is an indication of who THEY are, not of who their teachers are. Negative behavioural choices reflect on the giver, not the receiver.

It is a clear indication that the person does not respect and honour themselves. It certainly does not engender admiration from his peers. Seek to develop positive self-respect and self-value in your children and this will ensure that they give the same to others.

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