Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Respect and Character (Dorry Lopez)

Dear Dorry,
I have watched you teach several mini-lessons and no matter what the topic. strategy or activity, your students are engaged. what is the secret that you can share with all of us to make us better teachers? KK
KK and Family

When I was growing up, school was my safe haven, a place I wanted to be. In my classroom, I set up an environment that builds character, where values are taught and modeled as much as academics. All people and things are respected and cared for. Everyone is accepted and valued. the standards are high, and we are always trying to be better.

You asked how I keep my students engaged no matter what I teach. My students respect me. I have earned their trust and love by trusting and loving them. I treat them with respect. they want to hear what i have to say, because I want to hear wheat they have to say. their eyes are on me because that is respectful. When someone speaks, I ask the listeners, "Where are your eyes?" I teach them to engage, focus, and learn from what the speaker has to say.

I great my students upon entering with a smile and a greeting, and they do the same for me. At the end of the period, they exit my room in this same manner, with a smile and a closing remark. In my room, there are lots of humor and joy. Only positive "I can" attitudes are allowed. this keeps everyone upbeat with a willingness to learn. It is a happy place where it is real and genuine. Lives are shared. I share my life with them, and they share their lives with me. I get to know the whole child. We are like family. I listen. I focus. I am engaged in what they have to say. this is why they listen, focus, and become engaged in what I have to say.

It all very simple. It is modeling and teaching respect.

If I were ever told that I could not teach values and character building, I would have to turn in my keys, because that is the prerequisite for teaching academics. Minds are turned on with respect, but minds are shut off when there is no mutual respect.

I hope that you enjoyed reading my answer.
With love, Dorry

P.S.-Sorry this is so long but KK hit a passionate spot with her question.

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