Kids need explanation just like adults do. It doesn’t work in the classroom to make commands and walk around in an authoritarian manner, reprimanding students for every little thing. If you ask them to do something out of the ordinary, and they give you “the look”, or if you make a decision that they feel affects them negatively, they deserve an explanation. They like to know why, as much as any other adult would too if you put them in a similar situation. 9 times out of 10, they will comply immediately if you give them the consideration of taking the time to tell them your thoughts. While most classrooms are based on fear, our tutoring center is based on trust. It is what I do and the integrity of my character that will help the children see that I not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. It is a goal of mine to develop students who are earning better grades in school, but more importantly, I yearn to develop students who are honest and who I can trust. The students are proud of the trust that I give them, and I can only hope that they do not want to lose it. Of course, kids do break trust. But they should be given the opportunity to earn it back. It takes time, and I also make sure on a daily basis that I deserve the trust I ask of them.
In the same way, I LOVE to answer questions that students have. It does not matter if they have asked me before, or if they feel like it is a “stupid question”. I can only hope that the students see that I passionately want to help them understand. I think that can only come from the trust that is built in this center. They have to be able to trust that they can open up to me and ask me things without me putting down their attempts to understand. There are teachers out there who get so frustrated with students for asking something that they have gone over before. We should never become frustrated with a student for not understanding- it only means we, as teachers and mentors are obligated to re-teach until they do. Our positive and patient response to questions helps build the immediate and lasting trust that I spoke of above, which will then surpass any fear.