Friday, November 24, 2017


What I used to say - I say that students need to earn my respect.  It is given when it is received.  That is how it has been and how it ought to be.  

However when it comes to love we tell them it is "unconditionally" and I believe this to be true.

I will now challenge my own previous statement about respect.  I have been reading a book called "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and I think it applies to so much in education.

The premise of the book is simple.   It is that girls have a natural feeling to be "unconditionally loved" and boys have a natural feeling of needing to be "unconditionally respected."  Not something that has to be earned, but should be guaranteed like love.  Think about that a second.


Feeling loved and feeling respected are different emotions and feelings.  I think they mean different things to boys and girls.  I think each gender holds them up to different levels of importance.

Ask yourself; Would you rather be loved or respected?  It is a hard decision, but if I had to choose, I would rather be respected in any relationship.  That is just me.

I think, we as educators, especially in elementary do a wonderful job with "unconditional love."

The author would argue that our girls' number 1 emotional need is to be "unconditionally" love... We as educators have mastered this, in my opinion, because our passion to teach is rooted in our love for our students.

He would then argue our boys' number 1 emotional need is to be "respected".  This is not as easy as an educator.  Don't they need to "earn" it to make sure they are taught a lesson?

Respect is often not given out freely, but why?  I think because we tie respect to trust.  Trust must be built, I would agree, and it can be broken or damaged.  If I can't trust you, can I respect you?  Love is not tied to trust, I can love someone without totally trusting them.  Why must respect be contingent on trust?  How can we separate them?  How can we give unconditional respect if we lose trust?  I think it is in our actions I will list below.   

Respect is also many times taken away in different forms.  Sometimes our "love" even becomes the excuse for disrespect.  How many times have you said or thought, I am doing this because I love you?  Even though it is disrespectful, but you have sold yourself on the idea that it is good for them to learn this lesson.  The thought is that if you are disrespected effectively you will grow and learn to persevere.  Would you ever unlove in order to push your understanding and growth?  I would say no.

Think for a second in your classroom when that student misbehaved, how did you react?  Did you look down on them?  Did you embarrass them, maybe without intention, did you maybe even tell them that they had to earn your respect back in some way.  Did you force them to stare at you when you scolded them for their behavior?  Did you demand that they show you forms of respect in appearance, even if your approach, mannerisms, tone, words, etc. didn't show respect back?

Have you ever told a student that they need to earn your love back?  That just sounds ridiculous.

Think about how many times you have said, "I will respect you when...." Or  you said at a parent/teacher meeting "Respect is earned when...." and the parents agree with you.  "You will not get or be a part of this until you...."  "I love you...., but...." "Show me..., then you can..."

This is about our boys, and I know...  Boys let down over and over again.  They do, I did, I was always fighting the battle of "respect".

What if all educators gave "respect" unconditional to our boys?  What would that look like?  It would not look like talking about them within ear shot of others, it would not mean asking them "how old are you acting?"  It would not sound like, "What were you thinking....?!"  It would not sound like, "In 4 weeks I will respect you again when you have done..."

*** Full disclosure, these are all things I have done, and although I am aware, will unfortunately in the heat of the moment, probably do again. I strive to be better and improve! ***

This should not be confused with statements like, "you have disappointed me" or "I expect more from you."  I believe these types of statements are honest, truthful, and allow a boy to feel shame without feeling disrespect.  It is nuance, place, audience, tone, and the relationship you have built that sets apart a healthy feeling of shame for wrong behavior vs. disrespect.

We boys learn from shame - we get angry from disrespect.  Then we blame others.

For female students they know their teacher loves them no matter what mistakes they make.  That is what they need, that is what keeps them feeling safe, no matter if they make mistakes or do something wrong.  For boys a mistake or wrong doing brings on a threat of disrespect, which attacks our number one need.  Love is important to us, but I would argue for most boys (the author has research to back this up) respect is more important.  In other words to say to a male student, "I love you no matter what..." and then disrespect them does damage that is not understood until you have felt it. 

As a male I make mistakes repeatedly with my male students.  I know better but I try to live by these rules:

  1. Keep conversations private.  With an audience, you will immediately see male students shut down.  Sometimes I know this is unavoidable, and in these cases, put up your hand or book, to block your mouth, turn around and have them face you, not other classmates making faces.  
  2. If you don't believe a male student, don't call another student over to debunk them in that moment face to face. This will almost always guarantee a fight and feeling of disrespect.  Talk to that other student privately and report to the first student your findings.  Then get them together if that is what is needed in an equal manner and place.
  3. Keep conversations or check-ins quick.  This is not when you are holding them accountable for something, just being proactive.  
  4. When noticing behavior or trying to correct minor things, use looks, hand motions, smile first to let them know you see what they are doing. 
  5. When addressing more serious things, keep it open ended, not demanding responses, allow them to process and come back to it later if needed.  Keep them accountable, but understand the pace of this might be different than what you had wanted.   
  6. Don't demand they stare at you.  If they have been trained to do that, let it go, but don't demand it.  Personally, it is hard for me to stare at someone I have wronged right away.  I need to say it and then I can look at them eye to eye.  It does not mean I don't own up or am a coward, but the shame prevents me from looking them eye to eye to start.  By forcing me to do that, you are in essence "disrespecting" my shame and feelings.  With students, it might mean that you and he know he did wrong, but he needs to "get back" some dignity before he will open up.  Allowing him to drop his head allows that sense to come back to him.     
  7. Get to their level by bending over if needed.  Boys are physical beings and just the sense of being shorter has inherent feelings before anything is spoken. 
  8. Put a hand on their shoulder, if they are okay with it, when you talk.  Don't grab their hand or arm, a gentle hand on the shoulder works much better.  
  9. Whisper whenever possible, you can't be sarcastic and your tone is always hidden when you whisper.  It is almost impossible to come off wrong when you whisper.  
  10. Use "I notice statements" instead of, "You were doing..."  For example:  "I notice you were distracting your classmates, or I noticed you weren't working..." vs. "You were talking or you were not working on anything." 

Those are just a few things I have tried to put into practice, I am not perfect, or is this an all inclusive list. 

When addressing behavior be prepared!  Boys may need to push out their chests a minute, a sucking of the teeth, a rolling of the eyes, or that head down in talking.  These things never bothered me, I am a man, I know where they are coming from, I know I can bring them back, I know I have built a relationship and I have their respect.  Don't find yourself getting caught up and saying, "Then he shrugged his shoulders! He sucked his teeth!" 

It is going to be hard to believe me on this, but these examples are not usually disrespect directed at you, although it appears that way.  Unless of course you have no relationship or a bad relationship with a particular male student, then it may be directed at you.  Assuming the relationship is solid, it is a lack of respect they feel for themselves in that moment, it is personal, not about you.   

When I taught, my parents would tell me their children always felt respected and they respected me. This book I am reading now, just brought me back to it.  Here is my rhyme.  This is important!

Our girls need unconditional love, our boys need unconditional respect! - Dr. Eggerichs

Conflict makes most men feel disrespected- Dr. Eggerichs

Keep this second quote in mind whenever you have to address male students, we don't need love as much as we need to feel respected, I know we are a pain, but the more I read about it, the more I think it is just natural, sorry ladies!

My thoughts from writing this: I suggest you listen to the youtube clip as you read along.  Just helps with my somewhat spotty flow...

Respect is basic, some think it should earned,
Something gained, We've been trained, plain and simple
It's elemental, no trick, no manipulation, what we want
Most think it comes when you give, take it away,
And watch them fall, based on what you say
This male need can't be taken lightly
Awaken early thinking about this nightly

Respect creates the handsome knight, the sweat stains
Hard at work, got get it right
The provider, we hold this high, with regard
It is the code we know... always on guard
Tribute to our esteem, our well being
Like a mother's assurance.. her love
But what do we want from dads our fathers?
A role model and strong figure, a backbone, go figure
Needs not unconditional, those are actions
Relations not as emotions
Not quite as integral

Respect is needed from boys to men
From lanky tallies, shorties, heavy, and the wise
That are fast, slow, weight lifting, creating
That song was actually written by Ottis Redding
Need to be able to keep their heads held high
Rich, poor, credit needed, not a card

Give me dignity, Give me death
Not man up but who am I,
That is the challenge we manage
Fight and shove, punch to brawl, get me a scar
Thought that would make me a rock star
So we have society telling us we need to earn it
Lean into it, show it, and be a part of it,
Challenge that thought, been at it hours, days
Years counting the weeks
Hazing the idea that man needs to earn respect
What if it was unconditional like the air we breath
What if we gave unlimited, unequivocal, a basic need
That stuff that matters its magical
Like love, like caring, stop staring, start daring

No matter your game, we respect the 4 quarters
Every shot you throw up, every time you step
Every time you speak, every time you mess up,
No embarrass and cherish the difference
This is for the Mr. not the Mrs.

As an educator, how many times you speak about "them"
About "him" where he could see and hear,
You claim to love, but did not matter
You preach in an effort to change behavior,
But deranged your words were not heard
From the 5 to 18 year old larger gender,
We sometimes refer to as Johnny
Maybe you just told yourself it would be better,
To call out, sometimes in a shout
But damaged the meter of respect every time,
Lower the volume to increase the honor
Trust me, as a needer, a speaker of esteem,
A male in fear, I recognize this effect
I know the side eye, the public talk,
Something I have done a thousand times
Don't contribute to the dismissal of the male mentality
Allow us a feeling of respectability

I challenge to treat respect as unconditional
We claim our love has no bounds
Why does respect get the whistle
What we claim to mean
Is often lost in the translation of their dreams
Respect should not be earned, it should be given
Not a donation, commit to an approach, not a hand out,
No doubt, It's how boys get validation
Boys don't need love as much as they need recognition
Especially in mostly female driven education systems.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


There is something you want to create
Your idea,  you want to make

You want it great, but it is hard to wait
Not ready, steady, idea needs to marinate

Tried it out, not quite, there is this doubt
I'm not about to put it out

Come it will, head will fill
Idea is there, just need time and patience

Maintain the process, relentless
"The man in me" respect is the topic

Friday, November 10, 2017

You would think it would get easier

You would think it would get easier
Currently failing, finishing a project with poetry

This seems to be the one medium that gets compressed
Smarter I may be in the process, but words are less

I struggle to find a new flow, a new mood
Few, new, flew away, the day, putting together

Never the problem, but how to make it
Fake it now, as I try to find a purpose a reason

Listening at 115 BPM to get me started
It is just interesting, as I get involved

You would think it would get easier
Seems opposite, means are just not flowing

Bonus is that next one is up, thoughts flood
Rain, thunder after lightning, there is an order

Need a beat for me, to write the way I see
Through the ear, the drums seem so near

Guess it is easier when in the flow
Know the sense, tense while waiting

Stating this and that, delete, backspace
Replace "That" as a word never to be used

Then it hit me, song 4 tonight, dropped me
Left me wondering, where or how did this mean anything

Going to try new style now, right here, this minute

Here is the plan, drawn in the sand, under a fan
This one man band, wondering if I can, here I am

Just trying to be creative to push myself, maybe try to prove
Improve, admonishment and the punishment of self

Happened again at song 8, was feeling the weight, and the hour late
Had a moment, put on repeat, needed that, there's the word, I execute

Headphones on, most asleep, just me and my thoughts
Trying to improve, steady incremental, keeping it mental

The need started with Wilkie, year or more ago
Reminded me of the love I had with poetry

Thanks friend, your influence was never stated, but your karma
Of a love always had, held down, and now is forever my mantra

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Future of... Well anything...

What if the future did not require us to read?  

Many books are intimidating anyways!  And there are so many of them, how could I possibly read them all!

I am using this absurd question as I thought of it today looking at road signs and emojis.  Then I watched a video on Youtube that had no written words to read. 

I am not promoting or suggesting we should not read, teach reading, or do less of it.  I would say we need more of all of that.  Just using this question, because reading is the basis of everything, to make you think a bit... Maybe...

I am no reading historian, don't know the origins of reading, but I think it started with symbols, evolved to letters, and a way to communicate ideas, thoughts, and information without needing to actually be face to face.

Reading is a tool you learn, it is not something you are born with.  Most of us are all born with the ability to see, hear, smell, touch, etc.  We eventually learn to walk, grasp, taste, etc.  I would also not call these tools, but learned natural skills, that would probably happen without any outside influence or interference.   

Reading is something that definitely needs outside influence or interference. 

What if we could find a way to communicate ideas more efficiently without reading? 

Would we need to learn to read in this scenario, would we want to spend so much time learning to read? 

I would argue that reading is not the most efficient strategy to learn many things and is definitely time consuming.  You have already read this for a minute or two and have you learned anything?!  Probably not (HA), you are probably just gathering thoughts in your head to blow up my ridiculous question.

Learning to change the oil in a car, something I did today, is not best done by reading.  Learning to mix songs together with turn tables, something I did today, is not best done by reading.  Both of these examples are certainly not reasons to abandon reading.  I enjoyed a few videos and many songs for entertainment without any words being read at all! 

What if there was a way to get information or learn something quicker and with better comprehension? 

In 1923 you had to either read, hear (live), or be face to face with someone to learn something or be entertained.  Not today, today I learned multiple things as I needed that information.  I had unlimited access to multiple approaches to learning what I needed to learn today. 

Many people don't read books anymore, they just listen to them.  I am not one of them, but I know a few people that have made this switch. 

Reading is important because it also trains your brain to identify patterns, think, decipher, interpret, and all sorts of other important skills to keep your brain healthy. 

What if, there was some other way to do that? 

What if reading turns into what hand writing has basically become for me?

Besides the occasional post-it and recording of ideas on a poster at a meeting, I have virtually eliminated all handwriting and I could probably eliminate the post-its and posters if I had to.  Think about that, I could probably go months, maybe even a year if needed, without much sacrifice, without handwriting anything beyond my signature, which is becoming less and less as well.

Again, I am not even for a second promoting that we should not read, or teach reading.  I think it is the most important skill we learn.  I am just wondering if there is a better way to get what reading does for us, without having to read. 

Makes no sense, I know, but that is where reading gets you.  You are forced, if you have read this so far, to read what I wrote, and make your own meaning from it and it still might not make any sense!  You can't fast forward reading, you could skip or skim, but then you miss so many words that need to be read for comprehension! 

You may not get what I want you to get from this post?  I will never know, I put the words down, you read them, and now you feel some sort of way about what I wrote and maybe who I am...

Is that good or bad?  I will never know and don't really want that feedback! 

So here is the main idea, the objective, the reason for me to write. 

What if what we have always valued to be the "most important" is no longer the "most important"?  

What if you have to re-evaluate everything you thought?  

What if because of your current mindset, your "most important" is not in line with what others around you are thinking or what is socially acceptable and correct?  

You thought this was all about reading... No way! See that is where reading will get you!

Well read on!  Read lots! It is important until we figure out a way to read without reading anyways... I am just hoping for driving without having to drive soon!  Or cutting the grass without cutting the grass!  Or folding laundry without folding laundry!  Or.... You get the point, maybe...

Friday, November 3, 2017

Start slow and end fast... Really not the explanation.

Sometimes you start slow, sometimes you start quick
Not a sound and sneak from the 90's Pete Rock, CL Smooth clique

Worth, truth about what, the needing of a leader feeling
#cddolphins to feel the love and what we are breeding

Ridiculous, non monotonous, words at a time, for mine
Are the 1st, 3rd, 5th, all the peeps, Bus court to class needs

High five to the lean down, from eye to eye, to Sunday time
We #cddolphins protect "our kids" those we call mine

Here it is, the leader as with words, to describe what is meant
This school, this group, this staff, these students, every day

Pushed to their limit, the quit we don't except
Reject the ABC of the test, to reach to achieve

Receive what we want, eventual, the message
within the pace clock, what about the opposite?

Students telling, explaining, some sort of feelings
The end is the seeing, doing, and motivation of circling

Back to the forward, reverse the tendency to reject
Ignorance and platform to push secondary, I will reluctantly....

"Devil's Pie" BPM 92 D'Angelo on repeat.