I am in a unique position as an educator - I'm not currently teaching full-time, but serve as a substitute in a few local schools and work in an after school program. This gives me an opportunity to observe a number of educators in a variety of school cultures.
I have witnessed some amazing moments between teacher and student, and then there are those teachers I think need to take a reality check. If you cannot encourage a child in a positive manner you really need to leave the profession. If you cannot use positive reinforcement, keep quiet. Some educators need to listen to the words that come out of their mouths, really listen to the way they speak to children and ask themselves if they would want someone to treat them the same way.
I recently had a student tell me they liked me better than other teachers they had. When I asked why the student told me it was because I listened. This student has been labeled a troublemaker because they speak their mind. While I do not like some of the things this child says, I do encourage the fact that this student is unique and that boldness is what makes them different from others. I have talked with this student and encouraged positive behavior instead of some negative traits the student has displayed.
So how do I encourage student growth? I listen, listen, listen because students just want their voice heard. I treat the student like a human being who has thoughts and feelings that should be valued by others. I teach respect of others. I encourage students to value themselves and others. I do not devalue a student. I do not discourage children from being themselves. I do guide them to be the best they can be and to follow the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."