Writing my way through the school year!

imageI don’t get angry easily. Considering my profession, I think I am pretty patient. I don’t scream or yell. As a matter of fact, I rarely have to raise my voice.  But there’s one thing that boils my blood, it is a disrespectful child. I don’t mean a child who slips once in a while, we all have our moments. I mean that day in, and day out, downright, disrespectful child!

I grew up in an era where children were children, and adults were adults. I addressed my parents, “Yes Mom or Dad” or “No Mom or Dad”.  There was no in-between. I didn’t question them, nor did I question the adults in my life, teacher, aunts, neighbors, etc… I did as I was told, no ifs, ands, or buts!  No one was worried about my self-esteem, and whether or not they would scar me for life. And you know what, I grew up to be a well-rounded person.

But those days are gone.  Total acquiesce can be dangerous. When kids don’t ask questions, or blindly do what they’re asked, they can become victims of abuse. That is not what I am referring to, I do not want, or require,  robots who jump at my every order.

I am referring to these kids who have no concept of the line between adult and child. Yes, there are teachers who call the students their “friends.”  My students are not my friends, my friends are grown folk.  Or the teachers who want to be seen as “cool and popular”, so that they can “reach” the students. I reach my students all the time by caring for them, engaging them, and providing the education they deserve. When did we become a society where children can say what they want, when they want, wherever they want?

There are parts of my upbringing I agree with, no matter how old-fashioned people think they are.  A child is not going to call me by my first name, ever.  If I am speaking to another adult, I do not expect a child to insert themselves into my conversation.  If I ask a child to do something, that causes no physical harm, I do not feel that I have to give an explanation, every single time,  as to why I want them to do it. If a child does not follow through on their responsibilities, then there are consequences, deal with it! And most of all, I don’t expect a child to say things to me like, “You are lucky I don’t tell you what I really want to tell you!”, just because they don’t agree.

And I am sure there are some reading this who are saying, “She must be pretty mean and that’s why they act like that.” Or, “You have to give respect to get it.” I respect my little ones. But, you know what I act like, the adult. The person with whom the final responsibility lies. The person who sets limits and provides structure.  Because no matter how much I allow my kids ownership of our class, in the end, there has to be someone in charge, someone who has to be the adult.

When did the line blur, fade, or disappear? Is there someone or something to blame? Is it us, the parents, who so, so, so, don’t want to be like our parents? We allow our children to question everything, instead of some things? Do we find it easier to let them do what they want, then to set limits? Or is it television? Where the children on sitcoms speak to their parents as if they are idiots, or as if the roles are reversed? Or is it the philosophy where we let them “speak their mind” to whomever they choose? Is it the fact that we take them to see “R” rated movies , or watch TV shows I would be embarrassed to watch? Are we terrified they might not like us?

My students say “Good Morning” when they walk in the door. They can’t answer “What?” when they answer me.  If I am speaking they have to say , “Excuse me.”  And they know they are not my peers, and I am not their friend. They do know I love them though, but apparently that’s not enough for some.

What happened to respect?  I don’t know, but I sure do miss it. 😦

Comments on: "Feeling P*%$ed about Being “Dissed” !" (10)

  1. Huzzah! I’m in complete agreement with you!

  2. The attitude today is you have to give respect to get it, as if you don’t deserve respect for trying to help children by teaching them. We were told to catch them being good ad nauseum. Glad I’m done with it all. I can’t imagine the landscape in 10 years.

  3. I suspect that respect has been slipping for awhile. As a child, I was allowed to address by first name only two adults. I have a couple friends whose children are required to call me “Aunt” as a sign of respect – but titles are rarely used for adults now.

    My mom, a former Kindergarten teacher, told me the stories of parents coming in for conferences with their children. The children backtalked the parents and the parents laughed. My mom looked at them and said, “I understanding you think it’s cute. At what age does it NOT become cute? Eight? Sixteen?” We want children to state their opinions, but never in a way that makes someone lose face. Ever.

    Good call :).

  4. Oh if parents could only see how “lovely” their children could be at times! Oh wait, the students with the biggest attitude problems are usually the ones where it all makes sense once you meet mom and dad. While I miss many things about teaching, I certainly don’t miss having to deal with the “I’ll do what I want, when I want, where I want” attitude.

    Something’s gotta give in education or else there will be no teachers left.

  5. AMEN! And a HUGE virtual hug to you and ALL TEACHERS working in today’s environment. I’ll be the first to admit – my 9-year-old step-daughter, sweet as she is MOST of the time, has her natural default stuck on talking back and arguing. It’s a HUGE work in progress here at home and discussions with her teacher prove that she can be just as annoying and obnoxious at times at school as well.

    I have often debated on bringing back corporal punishment… you know, when you got sent down to the Principal’s office, it was NOT to exchange pleasantries! It was “Let’s Get Physical” time – NO NONSENSE TOLERATED! (I debate this mostly in my own mind of course, being a STEP-dad and all the living-hell legal ramifications and Children’s Aid potentially descending down on my wife and myself. Yes, God FORBID, I touch the child or otherwise go nuts in any way!)

    Unfortunately, kids know this and use it to their advantage. There is VERY LITTLE one can do these days of serious enough consequence that a child (mine included) can’t wait out. Taking away privileges seems to only INCREASE the mouthy behavior. It’s frustrating; make that INFURIATING when my petite 40-lb. tiny-terrorist gets cranked up in full form! I am definitely NOT looking forward the the so-called ‘terrible teens’. YIKES!

    What is the source? My little one certainly does NOT get it from either my wife or myself – we certainly try to give her a role model of how people can and should communicate with each other.

    Is my little one ‘damaged goods’ from a divorce environment? I came on the scene when she was two years old so I’m pretty much ‘Dad’; her natural father sees her only once a month for two days. While she’s very sensitive and there MAY be underlying emotional issues, there is NO EXCUSE for mouthy behavior… EVER!

    And just as we don’t know the source, my wife and I certainly don’t have any solutions. Heck, if we did, we surely would have implemented them by now. In the meantime, we’re hoping and praying that our little getting her ‘rebellious/obnoxious’ period out of her system early! Sorry I couldn’t add anything more positive to anyone seeking answers.

    All the best from Toronto,

    • I thought of corporal punishment too, but there are too many sick people out here who would relish the thought of beating someone’s child.

  6. I have to agree with you here! I really think a lot of it has to do with parenting! Last summer I was taking college classes several days a week, so instead of having a regular job I started my own little babysitting business. I ended up working with many different families in my area. And I noticed the same thing in each of them! Parents let their kids make the shots. If the parents do attempt to have rules, with a few complaints from the children the rules are out the door! I saw such situations as the mother who, although she’d paid for a full year at an expensive health club, stopped going because her 5 year old and 3 year old didn’t want to spend an hour in the health club’s day care. A family who, if they were thinking of going out to dinner, would ask, “Timmy, do you want to go out to eat?” and if Timmy says no, they don’t go. A 4-year-old who, when I told her she could not pick out all of the marshmallows from the Lucky Charms and eat just the marshmallows for breakfast, unleashed a string of cussing and screaming, ran around the room, poured her milk on the floor on purpose, threw silverware, etc… and later, when I spoke to her mother about it, the mother explained, “Well, we don’t usually say No to Gretchen. She was upset because she is used to getting her way.” A 7-year-old who, after being told by a neighbor that he needed to go home because she was leaving and didn’t want children playing in her yard while she was away, argued and argued until the neighbor basically pushed him out of the yard. Its ridiculous, isn’t it?

    • I’m not surprised. As I said, it’s so much easier to give in, and let them do what they want. That’s why when some of them come to school ,it is such a struggle.

  7. I am the same way. I do expect my students to say “Excuse me” if they have a question, they are not allowed to say “What” to me. I can always tell which students run the house because they don’t know what to make of me. They’re not used to being told no. That’s so dangerous. No one is going to totally indulge their child like they do. What’s wrong with being told no anyway?

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