Friday, April 27, 2012

Ask your kids, "Do you feel respected?"

I'd like to involve parents and kids in a little project. Parents, ask your kids, "Do you feel that the adults in school respect you?"

There is no right or wrong answer. If kids feel respected, I'd like to know more. If they don't, I'd like to know how it makes them feel about learning.

Here are some ideas for figuring out if you are really being respected:

  • Do your teachers know you well? Do they honor you for your abilities, your interests, even your passions?
  • Do they allow you to be comfortable, i.e. go to the bathroom, stand or sit or walk around when you need to?
  • Are you doing work that satisfies you, and keeps you wanting more?
  • Do you sit in rooms that you'd rather leave and do something else?
  • Do you or your classmates get yelled at?
  • Do you feel trusted?
  • Do you have rights over your possessions?
  • Is your voice heard when you have something to say?

Share the answers with your school board and your school principal, but if you like, sent them to me, as well. I'd like to compile a post of kids' answers.

So don't be content with a yes or no answer. Ask them why. Ask them how they'd like to be treated. Write it down or have your kids write their answers, and send them to me. (I won't publish any names, of course!)

Let me hear from you!


  1. Teachers often have no authority over what kids are allowed to do to make them feel "comfortable" (your term). Nor do they have much of any influence, let alone control, over the curriculum. It's you - as a school board member - that could institute changes at the systemic level.

    By the way, I asked the kids in the class in which I Ed Tech to answer your questions.

  2. At this point, what I want is simply to find out what children think.

    I know teachers most often are not empowered to make these changes -- believe it or not, I really don't find attacking teachers to be a fruitful direction to take! -- and I am very much aware of my responsibility as a school board member to push for greater trust and respect for teachers, even as I ask teachers to give greater trust and respect to students.

    It's still important to ask kids what they think, and pay attention to the answers.

    I am looking forward to hearing the answers! Thank you for doing that! And if the answers are that, yes, they do feel respected, we need to look at what made that feeling of respect possible.

    1. By the way, one of my favorite ideas for a new school model is the teacher-run cooperative school, like Edvisions where there is no principal and teachers handle the administrative tasks on a cooperative and rotating basis. I'd bring that into my district in a heartbeat if I could. THAT'S how much I respect teachers.