Physical size = no respect?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mykids1, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. mykids1

    mykids1 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    For all the short teachers out there - how do you gain respect from your students, esp. middle/high school.

    I get kids behind my back saying "I'm taller than you" I usually make believe I didn't hear it - I have no good comebacks. They also don't seem to take me seriously.:eek:hmy:
     
  2.  
  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,281
    Likes Received:
    111

    Jul 30, 2009

    Cultivate a good "teacher glare," turn around and eyeball them and say, "And your point is...?"

    Seriously, though, you have to establish firm control right from the get-go, or they'll know they can walk all over you. Check out some of the ideas in the Whole Brain Teaching or Love and Logic forums. There's also a Behavior Management forum.
     
  4. DocuiSedecim

    DocuiSedecim Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    I can not speak out of experience, as I am the tallest person at my school. I work at an elementary school so I definitely have the upper hand on the students. I can say that height should have nothing to do with your control and respect of the class. You need to not accept any disrespect, that alone will gain you respect. When you ignore rude comments, people will continue to make them (especially middle school students). Simply make sure the kids know that you will accept nothing but the upmost respect from them. They will not like it at first, but they will break.

    Hope that things improve.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 30, 2009

    I'm 5'4" and my size is not an issue. I've taught Seniors on the football team who outweigh me by a LOT, and it has nothing to do with size.

    The dean in my building is a 60ish year old woman who is probably 2 inches shorter than I am. Yet no one would DARE give her a hard time.

    It's about developing a presence, not size.

    Responses to "I'm taller than you" might include:

    - But I'm still the teacher.

    - I'm older than you.

    -That's nice. Why do you mention it?
     
  6. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    I am the same height as Alice, and height has never been an issue for me. (Though I have had probably three students equal to or taller than me.) I teach fourth grade students, though, so perhaps that makes the difference. Personally, I agree with Mrs. K.

    In high school, I had a spectacular American Literature teacher who was perhaps 4'8" or 4'9". Yet everyone adored her. She was strict, yet extremely respectful of us. Most importantly, she was phenomenal at teaching and that's likely what made the difference for us.
     
  7. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,391
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 30, 2009

    One response is, "Yes, but I still rule the report cards". If it was really bad I might assign a research paper about short rulers ;) I think you should really work on being tough and making sure they know you are serious. Check out the Fred Jones articles on Meaning Business and backtalk: http://fredjones.com/Tools-for-Teaching/Tools-for-Teaching-main.html
     
  8. iluvteachin

    iluvteachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    I teach a 6'9" 16 year old. He definitely talks about his height (related to basketball etc.) - but he would never disrespect me because of my 5'2" height because he knows I am the teacher. In fact, I handle him better than another teacher taller than me. You just have to be tough.
     
  9. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,765
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 30, 2009

    I agree with all the previous posters. I am 5'3" on my tallest day :) and have students (football & basketball players) so tall and wide they were assigned to tables while in my room because they could not fit into a regular student desk and height was never an issue. I few of these taller students I think I was level with their bellybuttons :) As other posters have stated, it is all about presence - it is your classroom regardless of your size and you need to command your classroom.
     
  10. mykids1

    mykids1 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    Thank you all. Those are great answers - I will try them! I definitely think it is my personality as well. I think my problem has stemmed since I was younger. Anyhow, a bit of the problem is to when I work with other teachers. If I give a direction, and the students don't follow right away, the other teacher will step in and say, "Ms.So & So, told you to do this." Does that overstep my authority?
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,919
    Likes Received:
    1,745

    Jul 30, 2009

    I'm 5'5" and have become used to having students taller than me. While we can joke about me having to "look up to them", ( and they made a great show of offering to get me a chair to stand on when I was tracing the silhouette of their heads for gradation) they know that I am the one with the authority.
     
  12. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,765
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 30, 2009

    How long does the other teacher wait between your giving an instruction and stepping in? Unless the other teacher is giving you at least 5 -10 minutes to redirect your students, I think the other teacher is overstepping your authority (unless of course there is a safety issue). Redirecting students, getting students back on task and working with your class on following YOUR directions IMO is one of the most important things for a student teacher to learn. When students see your CT overstepping your authority, I do think you lose credabilty with your students.

    So, how do you work with your CT to keep this from happening again? I would suggest you approach the topic with an "I" message - "I seem to be having a little trouble getting certain students to follow directions. I think I really need to work on coming up with strategies to learn how to redirect students back on task. Do you have any suggestions and will you be willing to let me work through these stratagies before you help back me up?" Or something like this . . .

    Good Luck
     
  13. Blkjacq

    Blkjacq Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    It is all about establishing a presence with them. I'm 5'3" and I often use the "and your point is...". Or I like to joke with them and tell them not to stare at my gray hairs. Then they laugh and tell me I'm not that old.

    I think the other teachers need to give you some time without stepping in so quick.
     
  14. BLHutch25

    BLHutch25 Rookie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    I am 6'4", 200lbs. I am probably one of the most laid back people you will ever meet. Throughout my years in law enforcement, I only got into 2 physical altercations. My size was intimidating without me having to act intimidating. (Ever wonder why it seems that small cops are the ones with the attitude problems.....)

    My wife is 4'10" tall. I promise you that you have FAR more to fear from her than me! When she gets mad she is like a rabid squirrel.

    You size doesn't matter near as much as they way you project yourself. Practice your "command presence". Speak firmly, project your voice, and carry yourself with an air of authority. That makes up for being "vertically challenged".

    My wife does it to me every day. I don't do anything without obtaining her permission and jump whenever she tells me to. I may be taller but she is meaner!
     
  15. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 30, 2009

    I'm pretty short, but I'm VERY loud. You have to be very stern and not timid.
     
  16. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,403
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 30, 2009

    When my little brother used to say that to me after he was taller than me, I used to say "It doesn't matter how tall you are when you are laying on the floor crying."

    But I wouldn't recommend saying that to a student. lol.

    I am pretty tall so this doesn't happen much. If a kid said it to me now, I would probably just say "Super" or "bully" and let it go. If they said it in a threatening way, I would ask them to leave.
     
  17. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,842
    Likes Received:
    147

    Jul 30, 2009

    There's not much you can do about height unless you wanted to wear high heeled shoes everyday to add a few inches, but when kids say dumb remarks like that, the best thing is to dish it back to them w/ a sarcastic remark & maybe a stern facial expression, then keep walking since it doesn't matter how they reply. Say:

    - Woah, what a genius observation! And do you know that there's people taller than YOU! What do you say about that?!

    - And by that remark, there's a WHOLE LOT more people who are SMARTER than you!

    - That's great & what are you going to tell me next time, that 2+2=4?!
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,919
    Likes Received:
    1,745

    Jul 30, 2009

    :lol:
     
  19. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    I am definitely on the short side, however I have no issues commanding respect from my students. I don't think height has to do it -- and if it is a problem, usually there is more to it.

    Students hardly ever comment on my physical stance because what I lack in the physical I make up for in other areas.

    It's always helpful to have a sense of humor about these things. If students try to take a stab at any vulnerable point, I just deflect it with humor.
     
  20. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,640
    Likes Received:
    57

    Jul 30, 2009

    I'm 5'8 and I know I *feel* more authoritative when I wear my 4" heels. It really all comes down to your confidence. If you project confidence and authority, heights matters not at all.

    Madonna is only 5'2, yet when she packs stadiums and is surrounded by taller backup singers and dancers, she commands all the attention. I don't think anyone would really even notice that she is short.
     
  21. mykids1

    mykids1 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    You guys have been tremendous! I know I have to work in my confidence - It's just always been in me. I will certainly have to work on these suggestions. I love the comments esp. "and your point is....?
     
  22. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,013
    Likes Received:
    173

    Jul 30, 2009

    Well, it's good that your students have mastered big and little. Admittedly that's kindergarten curriculum, but if that's where they are. . .
     
  23. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    Some other replies you can use are, for example, if students are commenting on your height to distract you: "Focus on your work" or "Have you already finished your work?" These lines take the focus off your height and refocus it to the fact the student isn't on task. :)
     
  24. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    11

    Jul 30, 2009

    :agreed:
    I had similar isssues when I student taught in Social Studies. I had one ct who let me deal with everything, and another who over stepped her bounds.
     
  25. mykids1

    mykids1 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    It's really weird. It doesn't even have to the same teacher I work with - it could be the aides, substitutes, other TA's - it's like we all do it to each other. I get the feeling everyone is fighting each other on who the kids listen to. Or, another example, I was leading a lesson - and I had given a direction, one little girl was out of my sight, so I didn't see that she made a face. The aide caught her and made a HUGE deal about it. Then, she apparently told the other teacher's assistants. It's, like, WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING????
    It just irks me - but like my personality with gaining respect from students - I hate to make waves with anyone!!!! Sometimes I wish I had the B**chy attitude. But that is not me.

    Thanks for listening (reading!)
     
  26. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,142
    Likes Received:
    155

    Jul 31, 2009

    When I had STs I always left the room during their first lesson - for the reasons you cite. To gain experience with whole-class instruction and management one has to fly solo.

    Meaning business has little to do with size as it does with body language. The way one stands, turns, walks, gestures all signal calm or something else. If you say anything to a lippy student you are adding fuel to a fire. They want you to respond - so they can engage you in verbal volleyball. If you play you have passed the ball to their court and they are in control.
     
  27. touchinglives

    touchinglives Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2009

    I guess I'm the oddball here, but I don't find their remark disrespectful at all. I'm only 5'2" - 5'3" and I have had kids, especially the guys say that to me, and I just say something like, "You sure are! Just wait until next year - you'll probably be so tall, I won't even recognize you." They usually grin real big and feel good about themselves.

    I'm afraid using the "and your point is?" line would lesson the respect, but I guess it depends on how you interact with your students, and how you say it. It will be a whole different experience when you have your own class of students, so don't let it get you down.
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 31, 2009

    I think it most definitely depends on the context.

    A kid who was just mentioning it, as middle schoolers tend to do, would have a different tone from one who was attempting to usurp the teacher's authority.

    The impression I got from the OP was that it was the second scenario. But you're right, of course. Some middle schoolers would suddenly notice it and comment on it, particularly if the teacher wore flats one day after wearing heels the day before.
     
  29. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2009

    hmmm.... I've had some short teachers that scared the bageebies out of me.....and everyone else in the class. A good combo of fear and respect.
     
  30. cmw

    cmw Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jul 31, 2009

    I'm 5'2 and many of my students are taller than me. I use shortness with with my band students when I need them to sit properly. I tell them is they're vertically challenged like me they'll have to scoot out to the edge of their chair. ;)
    When students say "I'm taller than you" I'll respond with "Well yes you are!" with a smile. I usually wear heels though to compensate for it. One day I was wearing flats. A particularly tough student got the biggest kick out of how much shorter I was. :D
    I don't believe my students are being disrespctful about it & am playful with it or let it roll off. If they see it bothers you they'll be more likely to be disrespectful & keep it up.
     
  31. Major

    Major Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 31, 2009

    I agree with Alice........ It's about developing a "presence." I'm about 6' 4" , 220 lbs or so ....... and definitely have a presence at school, and most other places. But I firmly believe I would have a presence without being an oversized man.

    Many years ago I met with Ross Perot (U.S. Naval Academy grad and founder of Electronic Data Systems) in his office. Ross was about 5' 5 inches tall....... but he had real presence about him. You could tell that he was a man in total control.

    Major.......:):)
     
  32. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2009

    :agreed: It's all about presence! I am told I have a very strong presence, and I imagine that's one of the reasons why I have few discipline problems in my classroom.
     
  33. mykids1

    mykids1 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2009

    I agree with presence. But, some people just don't have presence. How can one develop presence? Again, it's just not me to be loud. Can you give me some tips????

    Thanks!
     
  34. Major

    Major Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 31, 2009

    One way....... albeit a tough one..... is to go through "boot camp.".....:eek:

    :):):)
     
  35. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2009

    Being in the moment, observing everything around you, and keeping your mind from wandering will cause you to be more present. If you get lost in your thoughts or caught up in too many things at once, your presence is lost.

    In terms of classroom management, you can establish presence by using the The Teacher Glare.
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 31, 2009

    I also think it's about confidence.

    The year that I quit to become a SAHM, I got called back to school in February to take the classes of a teacher who had been fired. The freshman all assumed that they were so tough that they could take credit (although, from what I understand, he brought it on himself. ) They thought they were the baddest group on the scene in ages. And they didn't know that I had quit the preceding June, as Department Chair, after being in the building for 13 years.

    They (the kids) asked me how I would handle the tough kids in the class. I responded that it woudn't be a problem. They asked again. I laughed and said, really, don't worry; it won't be a problem. And it wasn't.

    Six years later, I was back. This time, mid year, I picked up Senior classes for a teacher out on maternity leave. (They couldn't find a Precalculus teacher, but they found someone who could pick up the 7th grader classes I had that year.) The first day, these Seniors (who, again, didn't know my history) decided to give the "new teacher" the business. We were covering ellipses, and part of the ellipse is the latus rectum. One young man asked 25 questions, every one using the phrase "latus rectum." After a while, the questions didn't even make sense any more-- he was trying to make me uncomfortable by using that phrase.

    As the bell was about to ring, I finished up, then said to him: "Sam, I've potty trained 3 kids. Did you REALLY think I was going to run out of the room crying because you said 'rectum' ???"

    He laughed, high-fived me on his way out, and I never had another issue with any of the Seniors that year.

    That's what we're talking about... the confidence to calmly take control. Not yelling screaming Alexander Haig "I am in charge!!!", but the quiet confidence that shows what words can't.
     
  37. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,598
    Likes Received:
    35

    Jul 31, 2009

    You also need to work on your tone of voice. You shouldn't need to yell to get attention but you also don't want to have a high squeaky "I'm only 5 ft tall" voice. Work on speaking from the diaphragm and be sure you can raise your voice without raising the pitch of your voice.
     
  38. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 31, 2009

    Funny story ---
    I'm 5'2". One day in class, I kind of leaned over the shoulder of a talkative student and said, oops, TOS! He asked what that meant and I told him "Teacher Over Shoulder" - get back to work. During lunch one of the kids called me over. He stood up (about 5'!!") and said, "Hey Ms. LLLLL, TUS!" I asked what that meant and he said, "Teacher under shoulder". We had a good laugh and it was over. My height hasn't ever really been an issue - I often ask for taller kids to help me reach things.

    I had one student last year though, who had ATTITUDE. I needed to confront him about something and he made it a point to stand close and make it very obvious he was looking down at me. In that case, knowing the kid, I didn't say anything. He did not need any ammunition. He didn't scare me, but he annoyed me for sure! He had made it clear from the beginning of the year, through behavior and attitude, that he didn't think very much of women, so I just took it where it came from.
     
  39. DocuiSedecim

    DocuiSedecim Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 1, 2009

    I respect all the remarks that have been placed on this board. I am sure that many are made in a jovial manner intended to bring humour to the subject. I do, however, want to remind all of us that we are in the school to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect and caring. When the teacher responds to the students in a manner that is less than professional, than we are becoming part of the problem. We must respond to a student's rude comments with respect and a firm hand. I hope that people will not stoop to the level of an adolescent and respond in jest.

    I.e. Student says "I am taller then you." It would behoove us not to turn around and say "Yeah, well I am smarter than you?"

    Create a classroom that is centered around trust and respect. My student's would never make such a comment to me. Simply because I would never make such a comment to them.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. TamiJ,
  2. Backroads,
  3. nstructor,
  4. waterfall,
  5. dr.gator,
  6. msleep,
  7. futuremathsprof
Total: 272 (members: 12, guests: 242, robots: 18)
test