8th grade ceramic bust
Most students will not automatically submit to a teacher's legitimate authority in today's culture of entitlement.There is an insidious undercurrent of pop-psychology that presents the idea that students are not to be held accountable for their actions - "they just can't help misbehaving!" The "solution" to student misbehavior, say these psychologists, is to increase the students' sense of self-respect (i.e. self-esteem) by praising them, providing as much positive reinforcement as possible, and ignoring their misbehavior, never actually providing a negative consequence. Also, these psychologists say to encourage students to talk about WHY they misbehave so that they can better understand how their "needs" can be met. (Apparently the belief is that students misbehave due to an unmet "need" and the theory is that the student can be taught how to meet the need in appropriate ways instead of bad behavior.)

8th grade ceramic bust
Don't misunderstand me - I am very much a believer in authentic praise and positive reinforcement and I am not an enemy of the noble fields of psychology and counseling. I strongly believe that our students (and our children) desperately need to know that they are unconditionally loved and accepted for who they are and they need to be encouraged to do what is right and good. However, I have to boldly say that I also believe that children NEED to be held accountable for their actions. The kids don't know WHY they misbehave, there really isn't a good reason other than that they just wanted to. They do need to be taught right from wrong, however, and that is where my opinion (and many other expert authors on education; Michael Linsin, Doug Lemov, and John Rosemond, to name a few) differs from that of some psychological theories floating around.

ceramic bust by Natalie, 8th grade
"Compassion is a good thing. We teachers were born with it in abundance. It breaks our hearts to see what some of our students have to go through at such a young age. I get that. I feel for what some of our students have to deal with. But this same compassion that in many respects makes you a good teacher can cause you to make excuses for students, which, in the long run, hurt them and undermine your ability to turn them around." Michael Linsin, How to Turn Around Difficult Students, Part I

Another educational author, Doug Lemov (Teach Like a Champion), says that one of the most effective teacher attitudes is this one: "warm-strict," where the teacher maintains a loving and kind demeanor toward students no matter what. The teacher is rock-solid in following through with consequences BECAUSE of compassion and love for the students. None of us wants the kids to grow up morally handicapped, having never learned right from wrong, having never developed self-control or empathy.

ceramic bust by Brittany, 8th grade
"It is, after all, a scriptural truth that in order to achieve respect for self, one must first give respect away, not selectively, but universally. To love thyself' you must first 'love thy neighbor' and 'love thy God.' In the final analysis then, self-respect is something earned, not something that can be either learned or given."
John Rosemond, A Family of Value, p. 18

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