It’s a double blog day today. The first was the fairly simple update on changes to covid isolation rules, where as this one is the fourth of my five-part look at the Marple Hall Spirit. Today it’s the turn of Respect, a key word for us that underpins how we expect every member of our community to get along with each other.
There are two common phrases when it comes to this element of the Marple Hall Spirit.
Firstly…‘Respect has to be earned’
I’m not sure I completely buy into this one. In my view every individual is worthy of respect right from the start. Far be it from me to hold back on the respect I show someone whilst I weigh up if they deserve it or not. In a big school like ours, respect should be an automatic right that is only questioned when a person goes out of their way to show disrespect to others, the school or the community. I certainly don’t want young people disrespecting new members of staff while they work out of they like them or not, and so equally I feel like every young person who joins our school deserves respect on arrival.
However, I do believe that there are different levels of respect and these can be built up over time. As Mr Sharp explained to Years 7-10 in his assemblies this week and last – when a certain level of respect has been established between himself and his classes, he and the class can relax and more learning can take place. Mr Sharp can step away from being in ‘strict teacher mode’ and instead engage the class as young adults who want to learn and who are in charge of their own learning. When this happens then magic follows, as I’ve seen it happen when visiting in lessons. When relationships between staff and students reach these levels, built on a huge amount of mutual respect, then fantastic things can happen.
Secondly… ‘Respect works both ways’
This one I’m totally in tune with. In fact, respect should work all ways. People don’t need to agree with each other to respect each other. They don’t even need to like each other. I for one don’t understand why some of our younger students like to charge about the tennis courts all lunchtime, but I respect that it’s important to them so we give them a space to do so. I don’t understand why some of our Year 10s want to look as surly as possible at breaktime and give monosyllabic answers to the question ‘Are you ok boys’? But, so long as they are otherwise polite and follow our school rules, then who am I criticise. I am absolutely sure that some of our students don’t understand some of the many school rules – like why they can’t bring a Playstation in at lunch (genuine question from this week) – but I’m confident they respect us enough to go along with our crazy ideas.
Ultimately, respect is about treating people how you would want to be treated. It’s absolutely crucial in any walk of life, and especially so in a large school where there are literally millions of person to person interactions every week. Along with Readiness, Respect is therefore one of our ‘foundation’ spirits that together are the only two parts of the spirit that are linked to our sanction system. Being disrespectful, like being ‘not ready’, is something that we will challenge when needed…but for the vast majority of the time we don’t need to at all.
Thanks for all your support this term,
Wishing you a great Easter,