Helping New Teachers Earn Respect

Shannon HoldenThis post was written by Shannon Holden, middle school assistant principal. Shannon Holden has been a high school and middle school teacher and administrator, and a new teacher coach, in North Dakota, Texas, and Missouri for 20 years.

As I work with novice teachers from across the United States, one common theme emerges. Teachers tell me “My students do not respect me. They tell me I have to ‘earn’ their respect before they give it.” To make matters worse, novices have to earn the respect of parents and colleagues as well. Each of these groups are difficult to impress, and respect must be earned from each group through different channels.

The sad reality is that learning will not take place for all students until respect is earned. Our New Teacher Help community on edWeb will work as a team to find solutions to these problems. One problem we will examine at length is that today’s teacher is not the smartest person in the room. The smartest person in the room today is a person with a smartphone with the ability to use it efficiently. The teacher of today is now a facilitator, and novices who realize this early on will maximize their effectiveness in the classroom.

Earning the respect of colleagues and parents is a monumental task. The first step for the novice is establishing lines of communication. I show novices how to do this in a positive manner – which leads to a much smoother transition from college to the classroom for new educators.

One technique I will talk about during our webinar is the practice of earning student respect by answering off-topic student questions. This practice – when done correctly – results in the development of respect for the teacher because students’ lives are littered with adults that don’t have the time or the desire to interact with them in a respectful way. Magically, positive relationships are formed between students and teacher…..and the learning process can begin in an authentic and purposeful way.