EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Respect

When I was getting my master’s degree I was in an incredible program at the University of Pennsylvania called the Penn Science teachers institute, Master’s of Chemistry Education.  In this program I was taught by many phenomenal people, but the person I want to focus today’s post on was a man named Dr. Wesley Pitts.  The program followed a cohort model, and so Dr. Pitts began his class with a group of sixteen people who had been through the trials of Chemistry from organic to inorganic to environmental and we had become a unified front.   Add to the dynamic that we were a rather pale group from the Philadelphia area and Dr. Pitts was a black man from Brooklyn, there could have been tension, but from the moment he took control of the class Dr. Pitts modeled the word respect.

Respect is a word that is thrown about casually in a classroom, but if you think about it you rarely see a teacher modelling how to respect another individual.  The first time I consciously saw it modeled was in that classroom. I saw a man respect a class’s identity and accept it.  He rolled with it, saying through his actions, ok this is who you are, I get it, but this, this is what I will teach you.

This past year I have tried to actively model respect for my students.  I try to show them through my actions that I see them as human beings, with thoughts and feelings.  When I correct inappropriate behavior I try to take in to account the person I am talking to.  I have started my corrective conversations with how are you? or you seem to be upset? before I point out the inappropriate behavior and apply a consequence.  Don’t get me wrong, I do apply a consequence, but I have found that taking the extra 30 seconds and being the adult in the situation gives the child the time to collect themselves.  It then becomes a short path to a civil conversation about an inappropriate behavior, rather than a long pissing contest.

My father always said, “Don’t wrestle with pigs.  You get dirty and the pig kinda likes it.” But what happens when you treat the “pig” as a person (Two legs better than four!)?

So my question today is R-E-S-P-E-C-T what does it mean to you?  How do you show respect?  What do you do to actively gain respect?

Bonus: before my father, who first said “Don’t wrestle with pigs.  You get dirty and the pig likes it.”

Bonus 2: What book is this from “Two legs better than four”?

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons (ET).

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Jennifer teaches science in a public school in Pennsylvania. She lives there with her husband and two dogs.

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