Value and Respect....
Two absolutely critical ingredients for any human relationship. When those two things aren't present, the relationship breaks down....and that includes the relationship between a teacher and his/her students.
I teach over 300 children every day. I can have over 80 in one classroom at one time. With those kinds of numbers, I need all the help I can get! So, I learned early on that the children aren't going to respect me just because I am the adult in the room....not in Middle School....whether they should or shouldn't is irrelevant. Whether their parents should have taught them (they probably did!) has nothing to do with your reality in that classroom day in and day out. What matters is how you manage to help the students to work WITH you and not AGAINST you. I watch so many teachers fight against their students. I watch power struggle after power struggle which does nothing but cause gray hair for the teacher, and it keeps learning from occurring.
When we show respect, value and caring for the students, they give it back to us 10 fold....especially at this age. They will work with us in ways we couldn't possibly imagine when we show them that we will listen to them and that we care about them.
Show your children you care from the very first day of school.
Here is the link to my quick story about one of the many ways I learned how important it was to show that I value and respect my students.