Kids need to show respect

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

To Parents and Guardians of Mountain Home School Students:

I have spent part of a year and a half as a substitute teacher for the Mountain Home School District. As well, I have had experience as an educator, teaching at the Grade Four level with a classroom of my own. Granted, that was a long time ago, but I still can proudly say, I was a teacher.

Being a teacher certainly is not a profession looked upon with as much respect as say, a doctor, or maybe a lawyer, by many people. However, their responsibility is as great or more, when you consider what they are hired to do. It is to TEACH your children, and to do so in an environment that is safe, even for them, and to be respected for what they do.

I have learned that somewhere along the line, respect is lacking in our schools. I have, as I have attempted to teach in our city's classrooms, found out that some of our students DEMAND that teachers respect them, but that the students themselves have no intention to respect their teachers. In fact, they (the students) have had it drilled into them, that if a teacher even looks cross-eyed at them, they can sue the teacher, and possibly the school district. There no longer is the respect due to these hard-working mentors of our children, whom some of us equate with only babysitting their children. I've even had a parent tell ME that it was MY duty to teach his children respect and responsibility, not him.

One of two things needs to happen here, I think.

One: Parents and guardians, you need to take your children in hand, and teach them that their teachers are NOT doormats, someone to be treated as a lowlife human, beneath their notice, someone to be sworn at, and abused, mocked, and yelled at. This must be done at home, BEFORE they start school. It still can be done, if you act now.

Two: Teachers and Administrators should be given back the authority to impose greater punishments to those students that act out, to include physical punishments, if it is needed, with the notification of parents. If you do not teach responsibility and respect, and impose punishments at home for similar incidents, then give back that authority to the teachers and administrators.

As it is today, our children are running things, not the adults. They learn very quickly who has the upper hand, when teachers and administrators have their hands tied every time a student misbehaves and the student has little or no reason to fear recrimination.

As a substitute teacher, I realize I am fair game for students to belittle me, and taunt me. They seem to think that to abuse a substitute teacher is part of their job description! If they can get one to quit, or leave the classroom in tears, they think they have won! It's a game to them. However, what can and does happen, is that the substitute ends up quitting, and then there's one less substitute teacher the district can count on.

But our mainline teachers, the ones who deserve a medal, just for being in today's classrooms, continue to put up with the disgusting attitudes and actions of SOME children, and that impacts the educational abilities of the other students that want to learn. Add to that, the requirement teachers have to continue their education AT THEIR EXPENSE, to retain their certification. To what end? To continue the abuse? No wonder teachers find their way to other jobs, as did 1.

I believe we have to put a stop to this now. Bring back respect for the teaching profession, and support our educators who put so much into their classes. Have the courage to recognize this openly at home, and let your children know that they need to deal with their teachers properly, or they will deal with the consequences at home and make those consequences REAL.

If you are unwilling to do that, then at least have the courage to let the teachers and administrators have the authority to deal with them, ACTUAL authority, and then back them up.

Please don't ignore this. Future generations will be at risk, if we don't. Even our great country, America, will go down the drain, if we don't bring back the level of respect we once shared with each other.

Respect of others, brings respect. It's not a one-way street.

Everett Thompson