Teaching. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Exponentially more difficult than you expected.
When children speak to me in a way that tells me that they either:
- think I am their peer
- think I am a buddy
- think I am functioning in the role of a personal assistant
I now have trained myself to stop-pause-assess my issue with what was said.....
Instead of railing against the child regarding disrespect, tell this child who is in charge..... and how I make a LOT more money than they do and who do they think they are....
Instead of making a choice that forces me to ride a roller coaster of emotional waste and confusion, I utter a clear, concise message.
If they protest or plead ignorance to what I mean, my eyebrows may rise a bit, my feet may root down into the floor, and I may pull in a calming breath of air.
The message is what they said to me, when they said it, or most importantly and most frequently, HOW they said it, is not being accepted by me.
In my experience, this works with kids as young as preschoolers, elementary through high school students.
My intent is to demonstrate a growth mindset-- by asking for the student/child to try again, which has the subtext, "You are not done learning and I am here to help you- let's try again."
My intent is to demonstrate respect. When I maintain a clear boundary on how I allow another person to speak to me, I demonstrate that respect is important and I will require it of students, children, and of myself when speaking to them.
My intent is to take away the stress of over-empowerment. When adults allow children to interact with them in a disrespectful manner, we give the message that we are the same. We are not. I have the responsibility of guidance, teaching, setting limits and sharing knowledge. They do not have these responsibilities to me.
Don't misinterpret please. Are we equal in value? In importance? Of course. Children look to adults for structure and guidelines. The seek this foundational security. When we treat kids like grown ups or fail to guide them to behave with respect, good manners and consideration of others, we fail them.
In the next week, use the "Try Again" strategy with your child, or students. Be as calm and assured as you are able. Be patient. You will be amazed and encouraged by how your child rises to the challenge.