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On Civility and Respect

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Teaching and Learning
July 26, 2016

These two words are all that is on the whiteboard the first day of school for my best friend, a teacher with over 25 years of experience.

We get together almost weekly to enjoy each other’s company and eat a good meal, and we sometimes commiserate on what is happening socially not just in the world but in the classroom and how she is combatting the negatives.  

My friend will spend most of the first day discussing with her junior English students what these two words mean to each student personally, to the classroom culture and to the world beyond their school campus.

After watching a full week last week of politics “live and in my living room," thank you RNC, I am now in the throes of another action-packed week with the DNC. No matter where your loyalties lie, it is only in America where leadership will pass from one to the other peacefully on January 20, 2017. It is my fervent hope that Civility and Respect will not be lost during the next four months of this campaign (I know I live in a dream world, but I keep hoping!).

So how do you talk about civility and respect with your students? You can start the discussions in your classrooms, your cafeterias, your football stadiums or wherever else the teachable moment occurs. Your impact on those young lives is powerful, and I truly believe in the power of civility and respect with EVERYONE listening to the opinions and perspectives of those around them.

As you think over the next few weeks about your first day with your new students, I encourage you to include in that lesson plan these two critical words. You never know: one of the students you see on a daily basis might just one day be a speaker at a national party convention or, better yet, a candidate!

Here’s to CIVILITY and RESPECT: may we see more and more of those two words in our world whether it be your classroom or your neighborhood!

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