Want to make schools better? Start with kindness and respect.
Imagine a school in which teachers always speak courteously to students, especially when pointing out a problem with their behaviour. A school in which students are never bullied into participating, but are invited without coercion. A school in which every teacher knows that before the obligations to teach students well and use their time productively comes the obligation to be kind.
Imagine how many students, with just that one change, would like school so much more. And begin learning more.
Teachers need a professional motto. Physicians have “Do no harm”, which would be a good beginning but doesn’t go quite far enough. How about a Golden Rule for teachers? Stated and restated by the Greeks, by Jesus, Muhammed, Confucius, and many others, it carries the dual force of universality and simplicity.
“Treat students as you would like to be treated.”
Is that so hard?
Apparently it is. But on the other hand it costs nothing, requires no negotiations with boards or unions, or even permission from the principal. Every teacher can begin implementing this revolutionary educational reform, right now.
I say, let’s start.