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Teaching Strategies to Get Students to Respect Authority

Janelle Cox

You can’t teach your students to respect you, respect has to be earned. However, there are teaching strategies that you can do that can speed up the process. Your students are looking for a role model, someone that they can look up to for guidance and inspiration; Someone that they can trust and count on. They are looking for a leader. Here are a few teaching strategies for earning students’ respect, as well as teaching students to respect your authority.

Tip #1 – Teaching Strategies to Keep Your Word

Your word must be golden. That means that if you tell a student something, you must mean it, and not go back on it. Many students have a hard time respecting teachers (especially the older students) because they have never come across a teacher that didn’t go back on her word. How can you expect a student to respect you or any other authority figure if they always think they are going to lie to them? This can be something as simple as telling the students that this weekend they will not have any homework, then on Friday you change your mind and you give them weekend homework. You went back on your word, and now the students will have a hard time respecting you for that. When you tell your students something, make sure that you mean it.

Tip #2 – Give Students a Little Control

Children want to know that they have some control, not only over themselves, but their learning as well. You can give students a fixed choice to give them some control over how they are learning. For example, you just taught students a math lesson, and now you want to reinforce what you taught them, so you are going to give them a worksheet to practice what they learned in class. What you can do to give them a little bit of control is to give them a choice between two worksheets, or between a worksheet and an app. You can say, “You have a choice for homework today, you can either complete the worksheet or go on the math app and complete the review game.” By giving students a sense of control you are showing them that you trust their judgment to review the lesson, therefore giving them the opportunity to respect you.

Tip #3 – Make Sure Students Understand the Expectations

Sometimes when you think a student isn’t respecting your authority and following your directions, it’s actually because they didn’t understand your expectations. A simple to way to end this problem is to make sure that students understand what is expected of them. After you give directions you can encourage them to retell you in their own words what you just said, or direct them to the front board and remind them that the directions are on there, as well as the class website.

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Tip #4 – Model Appropriate Behavior

Oftentimes some students do not have a role model at home to teach them the acceptable way to behave. The only role model they have to learn this information from is from you, the teacher, or the teachers in the school. When you model calmness, and respect, your students will see that, and learn from that.

Tip #5 – Respect Yourself

If you don’t respect yourself and how you let people treat you, then how do you expect your students to respect your authority? If students see that you have no respect for yourself, then they will not respect you either. Be sure that you make a good enough impression on your students that they know you mean business. This means that you must gain your students’ attention long enough for them to listen to what you have to say about respect. Once they know your beliefs on the topic, they can make their own conclusions.

Respect is earned through your word, your temperament, and your convictions. It’s not something that you can teach or demand, but it is something that can be earned. The good news is that you can earn your students’ respect, but it just may take a little time and effort on your part.

Do you have any tips for teaching or earning your students’ respect? Please share your teaching strategies and suggestions in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for, as well as a contributing writer to and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.

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