A Thought About Respect, or Lack Thereof

You know there are days when I wonder what in the heck am I wasting my time for?  I teach school for a living, yes I draw my food money from this job.  And contrary to what one principal told me, I wouldn’t do it for free.  But I also feel a “calling” to teach my subject to this age of children (Junior High) age students.  But some days you wonder if you are doing anything worthwhile.

As a teacher it is easy to get frustrated.  Kids don’t do the work you assigned on many days.  They interrupt and make excuses and try to work as hard as they can to not do the work you assign them on many days.  But some days, some days they do great things.  They step up and do what is asked and they grow a little each day and you feel like you are making strides.

Most of our kids do what they are asked to do and with respect, but not all of them.  Isn’t it our job to teach them that actions have consequences?  Isn’t it the job of teachers and administrators to hold our students accountable?  When this doesn’t happen, it can have devastating effects on all involved.

One of the worst examples is when a student acts disrespectfully for a prolonged period of time and little or nothing happens.  Teachers feel powerless  and students feel emboldened to act even more disrespectful.  There are times when teachers slip and say something they shouldn’t; I think every teacher has been there at one time or another.  But is it right for one slip to allow a student to disrespect the teacher tenfold and have no consequence?

I saw this happen recently and it is so demoralizing for me as a teacher and to a staff of teachers.  The teacher said something they shouldn’t have and the student “went off” calling this teacher names that even major league baseball players don’t use ( I know I used to be involved with major league baseball).  When the teacher tried to stop the student from leaving the classroom, another barrage of filth and disrespect spewed from the mouth of this child that only a mother could love.

But alas, no consequences for the student because the teacher said something inappropriate (a word slipped out in frustration, not AT the student, but about ALL students), and it was inappropriate.  But the student’s reaction was so off the mark and over the top that the teacher’s actions paled in comparison.

Think about it this way, if I call you a name and you punch me in the face several times, is that the right response?  No! It is called a disproportionate response.  Surely something needs to be done to the one who did the punching!  If not, then this response will become accepted and practiced because those who witnessed it will assume it is acceptable to act in this way.

When teachers are openly disrespected and those who are supposed to protect the teachers turn a blind eye to it because of pressure for parents or others, then how can you possibly expect our students to learn proper behavior and respect any authority in the future?

Say the teacher acted incorrectly as well, but protect them and all authority.  When those in authority don’t protect their teachers, then teachers become uncertain. Plus, who wants to teach in an environment where they feel as if they are not respected by students for administrators?

That is what I think, what about you?  Until next time, peace.

About the Author

Todd