A teacher’s take on students using their teacher’s Christian name…

Do teachers earn respect through their name?

In this Topical Teaching post, it’s suggested that teachers earn respect through their surname. In Australia, I’d say that most teachers go by their surname – Mrs X, Mr Y, Ms Z. In many cultures, honorifics are widely used; think ‘Sensei’ in Japan. The thought of my students calling me ‘Sir’, for instance, is totally bizarre to me. My belief is that nowadays, the kind of ‘respect’ earned through your title is completely artificial. It pains me that at my school the teachers are instructed to go by our surnames. My students do know my Christian name, so why can’t they call me it? After all, I call them by their Christian names.

In the abovementioned post, it states,I don’t want my students to call me Michael because I believe it is important to remind them that I am their teacher and not their friend. This is important, because if you want your advise to be respected, I think it helps to have a more formal title.

Personally, I believe you earn respect through your actions, not your title. I’ve posted previously that teachers need to be warm, be caring, laugh and above all, be human. I find the ‘don’t smile for the first three months’ rule to be incredibly damaging to classroom culture, student-teacher relationships and learning. A combination of great relationships + high expectations = Respect.

Some feel very passionately that respect is earned through a name or title and will take extreme measures to uphold that ‘respect’. In this case in the UK, a student was suspended from school for 5 days simply because, outside of school mind you, he called his teacher ‘Barry’ (whose name is, surprise surprise, Barry!).

Some wonderings I have, for those that claim that allowing students to call you by your Christian name somehow puts their respect for you in jeopardy…
* Is respect only bottom up?
* Do you only respect those that are ‘above’ you and not those ‘below’?
* Do you only hold respect for those with a special title?
* When you call someone by their Christian name (your students, your own children, your wife, your neighbour…), does it mean you don’t respect them?

I know a few Primary schools are catching up to the many Secondary schools that have already made the switch to allowing students to call their teachers by their Christian names. What do you think?

Teachling<WordPress> < Twitter>

More on the topic from Teachling:
A teacher’s take on positive teacher-student relationships…
A teacher’s take on earning respect from students…


Parent-Teacher Relationships: From respectful, to indifferent, to just plain rude!

A teacher’s take on parent-teacher relationships…

Parents, who do you have a better relationship with – your hairdresser or your child’s teacher? The profound and lasting impact that a positive, respectful parent-teacher relationship has on a child’s learning and determining their life-chances, is often rarely realised.

A teacher’s life is dedicated to facilitating a supportive, positive environment in which all children can be challenged to achieve their best in all areas of social, emotional, physical, behavioural and cognitive learning. Too many parents are at best indifferent toward their child’s teacher, and in some cases are just plain disrespectful, untrusting and rude (I’d guess that all teachers have had to deal with, as a minimum, some form of verbal abuse from parents at some stage of their career).

My last three posts have all explored the idea of respect for teachers – the importance of students respecting their teachers and the lack for respect for teachers from society in general. I’ve missed a major stake-holder in the education business, so I’ll use this post to address them… parents! How well do you know your child’s teacher? Do you respect them? Do you trust them? How often do you communicate with them positively?                      

Read this popular Ron Clark CNN article (plus a follow-up article here). The open letter to parents called for parents to “be a partner instead of a prosecutor” and to “have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve”. “We know you love your children. We love them, too”.

Alternatively, if you want to read a colourful rebuttal, read this Laurie A. Couture post which includes claims that “Teachers routinely inflict an environment of chronic physical and emotional distress on children” and that school children are held as “hostages, against their wills” by “factory-like” schools that force “the population to deny the self, homogenize, obey and consume… ignor[ing] their bodies, emotions, passions, interests, questions, ideas, creative impulses, purposes and needs”.

Yikes! All I can say is for the sake of teachers everywhere, I’m glad Couture’s son is, as she terms it, “unschooled” because imagine if she was a parent of one of your pupils. Perhaps parents need reminding that a teacher’s priority is to do what’s in the best interests of the child. We’re not the bad guys we’re sometimes made out to be. We’re not in it for the holidays, as some people believe. We’re obviously not in it for the money. We’re teachers because we care about children. Surely that’s worth some respect?

–  Teachling < WordPress> <Tumblr>

The ‘respect series from Teachling:
A teacher’s take on respecting teachers, pt2…
A teacher’s take on respecting teachers, pt1…
A teacher’s take on earning respect from students…

Just A Lowly Teacher

A teacher’s take on respecting teachers, pt.2…

So, when I was starting out at uni I thought I was entering a highly respected and noble field. Now, I feel as though society barely views teaching as a ‘profession’. My nephew is finishing high school and when telling his Dad (my brother) that he wanted to study Education, his Dad said, “Why would you want to be just a lowly teacher?”

Here I am wondering if society respects my work. If my own family doesn’t, what hope do I have that the rest of the world does?


Well, I’m clearly biased, but I believe that teachers can change the world. We shape lives and make a goddamn difference.  Teaching is a profession.

We hear criticisms of education systems and educations in the media constantly, and closer to home, the contempt with which some (certainly not all) of my student’s parents interact with me always astounds me. Shockingly though, it doesn’t upset me, because teachers have come to accept that there are many people in this world that do not treat us the honour, respect or dignity that we deserve.

Teachling’s WordPress, Teachling’s Tumblr

More on this from Teachling:
A teacher’s take on respecting teacher, pt1…
A teacher’s take on earning respect from students…

Read more about respecting teachers:
What Teachers Make (Taylor Mali, TED Talk)
Supporting Our Teachers (Government of South Australia)
Do Teachers Get Enough Respect From Society? (voxxi.com)
Why Do Some Countries Respect Their Teachers More Than Others? (theguardian.com)
No Society Can Succeed Without Respecting Teachers (thefrontierpost.com)

Teachers Make A Goddamn Difference

A teacher’s take on respecting teachers, pt.1…

So, during my usual TED Talk browsing (if you don’t know what a TED Talk is, look it up and prepare to lose lots of time, but expand your mind more than you ever thought possible!), I came across this poem titled “What do teachers make?” by Taylor Mali.

I wonder; How do you think society views teachers? On par with doctors? Lawyers? Librarians? Baby-sitters? Burger-flippers? Criminals? Homeless? Check-out chicks? Politicians?

Teachers got a very good wrap on World Teachers Day, October 5, in Australia when The Project hosts visited their own past teachers and Charlie Pickering stated, “Teachers are the most important people in our society”.

Thanks Taylor and Charlie, for sticking up for us.


More about respecting teachers:
What Teachers Make (Taylor Mali, TED Talk)
Supporting Our Teachers (Government of South Australia)
Do Teachers Get Enough Respect From Society? (voxxi.com)
Why Do Some Countries Respect Their Teachers More Than Others? (theguardian.com)
No Society Can Succeed Without Respecting Teachers (thefrontierpost.com)

More from Teachling:
A teacher’s take on earning respect from students…
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Teachling’s WordPress, Teachling’s Tumblr

What do kids think of me?

A teacher’s take on earning respect from students…

Be warm. Care. Laugh. Be human.

Loosen the reigns, but don’t lose control.

I’m not interested in whether my students want to be my besties. I don’t care if they think I’m cool (which is lucky because I just ooze daggy!). I don’t care if they ‘like’ me, but I do care whether or not they respect me.

Great relationship + High expectations = Respect

At least, that’s what I believe… Relationships need to be positive and productive, built on trust and mutual goals. ‘Expectations’ refers to a demand for excellence. All students can learn and it’s a teacher’s role to help kids achieve their potential.

Great relationship + Lack of expectations = Friend, not a teacher.
Lack of relationship + High Expectations = 1950’s teacher (good luck in the 21st century!)
Lack of relationship + Lack of expectations = Indifference (why bother being a teacher)

To me, teachers need to actively build positive and productive relationships with their students, whilst also having the highest expectations for learning. I believe that it’s possible, for you to have excellent working relationships with your students, but that does not mean a teacher needs to compromise on their expectations for learning. In fact, surely the higher the quality of the student-teacher relationships, the higher the quality of the learning environment, the higher the quality of the learning.

If you’re a teacher, do you think your students respect you? Do you think it matters? Have you earned it?

If you’re a parent, do your children respect their teacher? Does it matter? Do you respect their teacher?

As a starting point, this post lists 10 key ways to build a respectful relationship with students [http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/10-ways-to-get-your-students-respect/]. I’ve come across a few other pieces recently that talk about student respect for teachers, such as this article comparing respect levels for teachers in countries around the world [http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/oct/03/teachers-rated-worldwide-global-survey], or this article which speaks the truth about teachers nowadays needing to ‘earn’ respect, unlike years gone by [http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/columnists/martin/martin011.shtml], or this blog entry which begins, “Dear students, Your teachers are not out to get you, I promise…” [http://itsssnix.tumblr.com/post/62952676811/dear-students].

 –  Teachling

 Image source: http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2010/232/4/3/My_Crazy_Class_XD_by_3Peoples.png

More from Teachling:

A teacher’s take on positive thoughts and how kids let negative thoughts consume them…

A teacher’s take on independence and helicopter parents…

A teacher’s take on the jargon of explicit teaching…

A teacher’s take on “How Children Learn”…

A teacher’s take on self-help and parenting advice…

A teacher’s take on blogs…

 Access Teachling:
Teachling’s WordPress, Teachling’s Blog.com, Teachling’s Blogspot, Teachling’s Tumblr
Image source: http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2010/232/4/3/My_Crazy_Class_XD_by_3Peoples.png