Each new school year (well each day of each year, really), I consciously remind myself that each child is someone's whole world. Being a parent of three young children absolutely shapes me as a teacher, and this particular school year, that is even more tangible than ever.
I have (finally!) made my home teaching fourth grade, and my oldest child is also a fourth grader. While that may earn me some cool points with my students because it means I "speak" the language of Minecraft and legos, even more cool is that I have a live-in specimen by which I can guage classroom activites and expectations. I've already caught myself asking, "would I let Justin (my oldest) read this?".
It was in this spirit that I found myself reflecting on respect at the start of this school year. However, I was thinking about how *I* can show respect to my students. I began thinking about those in-service meetings and asking myself how it would feel if I had to ask to use the restroom or be told where I must sit. I certainly would be less receptive to whatever information being presented under those circumstances.
I decided to treat my kids (students) the way I would expect to be treated and let them choose their seats, at least at the onset, with the understanding that if a child demonstrated that they could not handle this, they would lose the opportunity. Same goes for the bathroom. So far, albeit only a week and a half in, it's going really well. I have had to move a couple already, but I'll be sure to give them another opportunity.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. What is working so far in your class, teachers? What are you finding yourself mentally tweaking already? I know we will make changes as the year progresses, but I also know that mutual respect will always guide my decisions for our classroom.