Honesty and Respect - Shalini Solanki

1. The most common instances of dishonest behaviour shown by students in class

There are some common instances of dishonest behaviour in class like not speaking the truth, making mistakes and not admitting, taking each other’s things and not returning, and blaming each other for any misbehaviour. I would like to share one instance in my class last year.

I still remember a child in my class from the previous session who was intelligent and enthusiastic. She was expressive and overconfident about her academic performance. She got her all spell check words correct the entire session without even a single mistake. She was happy with her performance in the class. Towards the end of the session, post the pandemic, our school opened offline for teachers and gradually for students. This child started coming to school. She was a very fun loving student. We had a good time with each other for about 2 weeks. She used to discuss a lot. Once she came in the morning and confessed that she never got all the words correct in spell check during the online classes, and she lied to everyone. This, she spoke in front of the entire class with confidence. We did not ask her why, but she wanted to tell herself. She did not get scolded. In fact, she was appreciated for having the courage and being honest to speak the truth.

There were specific reasons behind her behaviour:-

  • She was scared of getting judged.
  • Her mother used to hit her for any mistake, so she cheated to keep her mother happy.
  • She said that she used to pray to God to get me as her teacher since Grade K.G. and wanted to create the best impression in front of me. She never wanted me to dislike her.

Some common reasons behind dishonest behaviour:

  • Children want to create a good impression on their peers and teachers.
  • They do not want to get judged; hence they make a different impression in front of the class.
  • They are scared of losing friends and feel that speaking the truth or being honest may take them away from their friends.

Sometimes they are not honest because this is what they observe in their surroundings.

When children do not get a healthy response to their honest behaviour, they avoid speaking the truth.

When elders do not trust them, children avoid speaking the truth.

2. we must indeed show Respect to earn Respect in a classroom

It is essential to give Respect to everyone, including children, as Respect cannot be snatched but earned. We have always heard the phrase ‘Give Respect to Earn Respect. Earning needs hard work, patience, dedication, collaboration and confidence. We sometimes make mistakes assuming that ‘Giving Respect’ is not our job but receiving ‘Respect’ from everywhere is our right. It is 2-way traffic where coordination and collaboration are required.

I have an example of sharing from my class a few years ago-

A new angry child entered the classroom on the first day of the session. He didn’t ask for permission to enter the room; he didn’t wish his teachers and classroom nanny and threw his bag near the dustbin. He then came to me and said that he wanted to go back home and will not stay in the class. Now, I had to show that I was his teacher, got a little firm and asked him to go out of the class with his bag and ask for permission to come into the classroom. This child did not listen to me and started howling. This continued for many days. He was regular with his behaviour of not respecting teachers, and I was firm every time in making him follow the rules and respect everyone and everything in the classroom.

Things were not working, and then I thought of changing my strategies. I started wishing him myself; initially, he didn’t respond, but gradually he started wishing back. I appreciated his written work, drawing and involvement with his peers. Magic... He was a changed personality. Started wishing all the teachers, nannies and peers. He used to share many things and help everyone in the classroom. It has been 5 years now, and he still comes to wish me every morning. Sometimes, It is more important not to think like teachers but any individual struggling to adjust. We can’t even get closer to the insecurities that ultimately captured the child. We must give Respect, time and opportunities to others to receive the same.

Shalini Solanki

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