My realization on this topic started a few years ago in the teacher’s lounge at lunch. I used to eat lunch in there often, and on this particular day, these teachers were complaining about these boys in their class who were giving them a really hard time.
I was thinking in my head, “That’s weird…they’re great kids in my class.”
Then I started to notice what I felt was the problem. There was something in their tone.
And then one of them said this, “They just don’t have any respect. And I said that to him, ‘You need to start respecting your teachers.’ And he said back to me, ‘I’ll respect you when you respect me.’ That got her really mad, and she said, “I’ll respect him when he starts respecting me.”
Her statement connected my brain up with a marriage book we’d read called LOVE AND RESPECT by Emerson Eggerichs. In it, he discusses the core needs for males and females. Males crave respect, and females crave love. Sure, we all need both, but he makes the case that we crave one more. Jonathan even did a poll once of a whole bunch of his guy friends who didn’t know he’d been reading the book. His question was: If you had to choose between having unconditional love or unconditional respect, which would you rather have? And more than 80% of them said respect.
So how does this idea transfer into our classrooms with our students?
- Let’s start realizing that this is an actual need. Girls crave love. Boys crave respect. And when we start giving it to them, they start giving it back.
- We’ve gotta do it first. We can’t wait for our students to respect or love us first. I often use this little example with my students when they say someone else is doing something stupid they wish would change. I ask them, “Who’s the more mature one: you or them?” So I’ll ask you, in that situation with that student who never shows you respect, who is more mature, you or them? You, right? Then you’re telling me that you’re gonna wait for the immature one to take the first mature step here? How about since you’re the mature one, you show them what unconditional respect looks like?!
- A key word here is “unconditional.” Your love and respect cannot have conditions. Sure, there are discussions and consequences and discipline that has to happen from time to time, but those can all happen with respect. This will save you time in the long run, and you'll start to see the time-saving results sooner than you think.
- Guys, realize that loving your female students can be tricky today. Let me share some ideas:
- Listen to them. Stop and listen.
- Advocate for them. Boys are not allowed to talk down to girls in my class. It’s not tolerated. And girls aren’t allowed to tear down other girls.
- Call the boys to chivalry and advocacy. Call them to manhood.
- Broaden and empower the horizons and possibilities for the girls.
- Give them blessings and encouragement in their endeavors.
- Don't yell at them. (unless they're doing something dangerous) Yelling only makes them feel disrespected and defensive. If you want to be respectful, never yell. You don't need to.
- Validate their ideas. Or at least the good parts of their ideas. Then ask questions about the parts you aren't sure of. Give them the chance.
Conversation of the Day: Share a way you show love or respect to your students.
Hop on over to watch the video and share your thoughts in the conversation.