Funny that at this point in the week I would rather write a blog post than sleep, but I think blogging for me is restful emotionally.  My mind is more tired than my body tonight.

Mr. Russell was my high school English teacher and cross country coach.  I respected him immensely for the time and effort he put into his students.  He coached three sports and always was telling us how late he had stayed up the night before to correct essays.  My respect for him (and every other one of my teachers) has tripled in the last six months. Teaching is hard.  But I'm wandering.  I also respected Mr. Russell because he commanded respect in the classroom and because he respected us as his students.

Once, he told me that something that I needed to watch out for was people walking on me.  "You're so sweet, so kind, that you let people take advantage of you," he said during cross country practice one day.

I kept that advice tucked somewhere in my brain, and today it came out again.  Six months into my classroom, I see how my tendency to be kind, for lack of a better word, makes my students walk all over me unless I put on my mean teacher face.  The sad truth:  I am a pushover.

How does commanding respect fit into who I am, who God has made me?  Since He put me in a room with twenty 5th graders for nine months, I know He must have put that capability for that somewhere in my genetic makeup, as a survival mechanism if nothing else.  But oh, it is hard to pull out the respect muscles when I have let them atrophy for most of my life.

Paul was a man who commanded respect.  You can read it in the way he talks to the churches.  He defends himself.  And he does it in a way that makes God great.

Teach me, Lord.


  1. !!!!!!!!!

    I've thought about this SO much since I started teaching 6 months ago. But just yesterday I was really puzzling over it again and wondering the right way to be. Should I have "demanded" their respect from the beginning or is it good that I was just myself? Which is more respectable in God's eyes? Obviously, there's a place for both, but its SO difficult for me to find the fine line. So many of the kids take advantage of my leniency (which is either result of my being a pushover or an inexperienced teacher). Yet, to be the tough school marm, is so not my personality. Just 6 months in, and I'm paying for it.

    Someone told me to go in the first day of class, really serious and strict. And then as you earn their respect, loosen up a little. I didn't quite manage that. I guess there are several techniques, I'm just trying to find the balance. The mean teacher face ends up coming out as an exasperated response towards the children sometimes, which isn't a good way to deal with the "respect" issue. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Its helping me process!!

  2. Yes! Exactly how I feel. I also thought I had heeded the advice to come in strict, but I think my "strict" was this world's "gentle."

    So much to learn.

  3. Kayleen, this has been one of your 'best' posts this far (if you'll allow me to indulge in the Western tendency to work in hierarchies, which we discussed yesterday in Aesthetics...) (ok enough).

    You articulate the many facets of the respect issue very well, yet this post is not an essay, it remains your own heartfelt thoughts.

    I like your blog. : )


I'd love to hear your thoughts!