Practically, this means things like the following:
- If your students do not respect you, then you may not be carrying yourself in such a way that merits respect.
- If your students are not doing their homework, then you may have failed to make it clear to them what their motivation is for doing their homework, or maybe you were not clear that they were supposed to do the homework, or you failed to adequately explain the material in class so that they would actually be prepared to do the homework.
- If your students are not cooperating during a class activity, then maybe you failed to clearly explain to the students what precisely your expectations were for them, or maybe you failed to remind them of those clear expectations.
- If your students ignore you when you tell them to do something, then maybe it is because you have repeatedly failed to correct them every previous time that they ignored you, thus teaching them that ignoring you was an acceptable response to your commands.
- If your students are falling asleep during your class, then maybe you are boring, or maybe you just talk too long, or maybe you don't give them enough to do.
The obvious objection to what I'm saying here is that it may seem as though I'm ignoring the fact that there are still other problems that the teacher cannot be faulted for. Maybe the students simply are a disrespectful bunch, maybe they don't do their homework because they are lazy, etc. This point is obviously valid, but finally unhelpful. Being a teacher takes for granted all the shortcomings and obstacles outside of the classroom. The task of the teacher is to meet the students where they are (warts and all) and take them beyond that, in some cases with greater ease than in others.