So, when I was a kid, I pretty much slept through high school. I could pull 80’s and 90’s with minimal effort and I was okay with that. It was my responsibility to do my homework or not do my homework and my parents only spoke with my teachers at Open House (other than one issue I had with a math exam junior year being the only exception). It was all on me. Pass or Fail. Good or bad. I was no angel, if I could get out of doing work, I would. I had the God given intelligence to skate through school. I could but in the minimum effort and still succeed.
Of course, I had teachers I couldn’t stand, but it never entered into my mind to be outwardly rude or hostile to them. Ever. They were adults, teachers and no matter my opinion of them, I was respectful. Always. To their face, always respectful. That’s how I was raised, it’s what was expected of me. All adults, for the most part were to be respected, even if they were worthy of being disliked. They might be the biggest idiot in the world, but they still were to be shown respect.
When did that change?
For the first time in years, I am teaching in a high school. It astounds me how freakin’ rude kids are. They cannot tear themselves away from their phones/music/social media in classes, while teachers are teaching. They act like they are above it all and are openly rude and hostile if you ask them, god forbid to remove their earbuds while you’re teaching. Granted, some of this is due to the relaxed nature of some teachers, which fosters inconsistent expectations in students.
I find myself silently screaming for them to just shut up. They don’t know how lucky they are to have the opportunities they have, to been in classes that are nearly impossible to fail. To have teachers that care.
Perhaps I am too old school. I grew up with teachers who ruled by fear. I would never mouth off to a teacher for fear of getting in trouble and especially having them call my parents. I also went to an elementary school where the principal had a paddle in his office behind his desk.
Not that I condone corporal punishment, I just like the idea of having it in your back pocket. The kids today have ALL the power. They know there are no consequences of any matter that can touch them. They are disrespectful and rude… They lie and grouse and complain and make it seem like you’re killing them to make them use their brain and think for themselves or do any work. They talk out of turn, disrupt classes, poison the learning environment and have no impulse control.
Okay, not all of them. Yet, I find that even the ones that are generally respectful and focused on education still have an air of entitlement.
I have been a teacher for fifteen years. Even when I have wanted to give up, I’ve always remembered the words my grad school roommate’s father imparted to me at her funeral – “take care of those kids for Melanie.” Melanie who was a good person and never wanted anything other than to teach was tragically killed thirteen years ago in a car accident. I have spent the past thirteen years trying to honor her memory and taking strength in her when I was ready to give up. I am finding it harder and harder to abide by that these days…