So, this week COETAILers have been inquiring into cyber bullying and the use of technology to intentionally and repeatedly cause harm to others. It is a deep and emotionally charged topic that has pervaded schools and the education field. As a result, there are many excellent resources for parents and teachers and a wealth of lesson plans to teach cyber safety and how to prevent cyber bullying. The topic has been well reflected upon and I have been mulling over how I could add anything further to the subject except to add my recognition of its importance. This writer’s block got me to thinking about all of the ancillary teaching that teachers do on a daily basis.
Teachers are pretty amazing!
Not only do we guide students while they uncover the curriculum that is laid out by our school systems but we are called upon to teach “tomorrow’s leaders” how to become upstanding citizens of their “brave new world”. In this line of thought, character education has become a buzzword in some education circles. It refers to teaching children in a way that emphasizes, prioritizes and models certain values such as honesty, integrity and kindness.
As an international educator, I sometimes question how my particular list of teachable values may not align with that of the culture in which I teach. When I came to live in the Middle East, I did so with very little cultural knowledge of their traditions, values and religion and, as I work to try to understand the culture in which I am immersed, I am thoughtful of how my value system may not exactly reflect that of the students I teach.
Which brings me back to the topic of today’s post, RESPECT. I believe that respect is one of the foundation pillars of harmonious living. There are many definitions of respect as both a noun and a verb but I like the way it is summed up by the Golden Rule; recognized by many world religions.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
If we can uphold this maxim in our day-to-day teaching environments, model it to our students and recognize and reward its occurrences, I believe we can help our students to realize the enormity of their words and actions. Inspirational posters around our school remind children that although they are only small they can make a big difference in the world, but sometimes those thoughts are framed only through a positive lens. We need them to realize that their negative actions also can make a big difference in the lives of other people.
To have regard and consideration for others is one value I think we can all agree upon as long as we remember that in order to get respect we must first give it.