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Alternative Title

Student and teacher perspectives on earning respect

Publication Date


First Advisor

Shannon R. Audley

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Education and Child Study


Respect, Student-teacher relationships, Adolescents, Emerging adults, Critical race theory, Narrative


Positive teacher relationships (STRs) support students’ academic achievement as well as social-emotional growth. They additionally provide a sense of fulfillment for teachers. Respect is one dimension of positive STRs. A lack of general congruency in teacher-student perspectives and the cultural nature of respect makes the possibility for misalignment regarding respect within STRs high. Misalignments regarding respect may be an avenue to understand why positive STRs do not form, or otherwise go wrong. Exploring how students and teachers (mis)align in their understanding of respect can inform the positive development of STRs. This study had three aims: to identify respect experiences: (1) for youth from teachers, (2) for teachers from youth, and (3) to examine (mis)alignment of youth and teacher perspectives. Sixteen adolescents, seventeen emerging adults, and nineteen teachers participated in an interview about a time a teacher earned the student’s respect, or conversely a time a student earned the teacher’s respect. Interviews were analyzed with inductive coding and thematic analysis; separate codebooks included six student themes and eight teacher themes. Students primarily felt respected when teachers understood them “as more than a student.” Teachers primarily respected students who demonstrated “good student qualities” including cooperation, use of academic language, and use of effort. These findings suggest that teachers and students may be misaligned in their conceptualization of respect towards one another, and that students’ desires to be seen as individuals are not often met. This misalignment suggests that the majority of student-teacher relationships may not be as close or as fulfilling as they could be for both students and teachers.


2020 Sarah Lynne Leandro. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




127 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 79-92)