Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where did we go wrong?

I thought it would be best to wait a day to cool off before I talked about my day subbing yesterday. I don't think I have completely cooled off, but I think that I can voice my opinion without going overboard. This has everything to do with the way kids are behaving, which I really think is modelled after the way that adults are behaving.... When did it become okay to talk to people in the rude and belligerent way we do?

Remember when you were in school, and you had respect for your teachers? You might have disliked one or two, or all of them, for that matter, but you still showed them respect to their face. You might talk with your friends about how annoying, or demanding, or insensitive they were, but neverto their face. You would work in class, finish your homework (for the most part), and would never dream of talking back. Remember those days? I do. I remember going to school, and knowing there were consequences for bad behavior. Teachers and administrators actually had tools at their disposal that they could use to reprimand or punish students. Remember the strap? Don't get me wrong.... I am not advocating for the return of the strap in schools, but I do think there needs to be something that makes the kids think twice before they act out. Or what about getting in trouble at school. You knew you were in for it when you got home. Parents stood behind teachers and schools. Parents didn't accuse the teacher of instigating, or defend their child's abhorrent behavior. Parents believed and trusted the teachers. I miss those days. And I miss them more and more when I go back into the classroom.

Not all kids are bad. In fact, on the whole, I would say more often than not, they are generally pretty well behaved. They act up once in a while. Test their boundaries, skip a class here and there... minor stuff. But, there are those kids out there, the ones that make you feel like you should never have kids of your own... or if you do, to try as hard as you can to ensure that they don't end up like the ones you just faced.

I had a grade nine boy yell in my face yesterday.... He literally yelled in my face. And that was after he had talked to me like I was unable of understanding directions, and after he did nothing for his first class with me, despite me giving him plenty of things to write about. He yelled in my face because I asked him to stay out of the teacher's desk. If I was the parent of that kid... I would be humilated. I would be appalled that my child would think that the best course of action is to turn to an adult and yell in their face. I would wonder where in my parenting I had failed. I would beg the forgiveness of the teacher. I would insist that my child offer a sincere apology. This boy's mom said that I shouldn't have told him to get out of the teacher's desk. I was just a substitute, after all. What authority did I have?

Are you kidding me?

When did parents hop on that pendulum and swing so far away from what they were taught as children? Why would they do this? Are they so desperate to ensure that their kids will "love" them, that they won't even give another adult the benefit of the doubt? I pray that the way I am raising my children doesn't result in this behavior. I pray that I don't have children who grow up with this sense of entitlement, with no respect for the people around them, with no regard for rules and structure. I pray that my children are well behaved, polite, rule following students. Is that too much to ask?

Sorry for the venting.... but seriously...


Carol T said...

I have often felt the same way. We hear every day how a kid is backed up by his or her parent, when it's actually the kid's problem. Moreover, it's the parents' problem. I once was in Staples shopping for school supplies, and this dad asked his son, "Do you need any whiteout?" to which the son replied, "You know I don't need any F---ing whiteout." And you know what the dad said? "OK." You better believe that I followed him around the corner and gave him hell. If he lets his child talk to HIM that way, how does the child talk to his peers and teachers? By the way, this kid was TEN. Yup.
Personally, I'm tired of kowtowing to parents. As a parent and a teacher, I know that sometimes there are bad teachers. But for heaven's sake, if it keeps happening, one would have to ask oneself, "Is MY kid the variable?"

And when did it become wrong to teach kids to speak with respect, even when they disagree? I hope that I teach my students AND my children how to respectfully stand up for their rights, and how to know what's a right and what isn't.

It's too bad the school didn't support you yesterday. If my students are awful to a sub, their WHOLE WORLD ENDS. No nice Mrs. Thompson. No literature discussions. Just bookwork and worksheets and apology letters to the sub.

My favourite is that kids will often complain that they are stereotyped as BAD kids... hello? How do they think that happens? For the most part, kids are great. But there are always some terrible ones there, who have terrible parents... and for every loudmouthed idiot in the classroom, there are 20 kids unwilling to stand up to him. Maybe THAT'S the real problem.

Martha said...

Sorry you had such a horrible experience. I can understand why you would be so pissed off. I would have wanted to throttle him or cry. What a jerk, but obviously after meeting his mother, you see why. Rest assured, they are not all like that.

kaly said...

It is totally unfortunate that some parents back up their kids in situations which the child is clearly in the wrong. Parents are allowing their children to get away with things we would have never dreamed of when we were kids, for sure! I really think the parents are doing a disservice to their children by allowing such behavior. How are they going to get any kind of job in the "real world" where they have to deal with people daily? Perhaps a boss they don't particularly like or agree with? And that's in the long run. What about now? What kind of education is seeping into such a brain when they are so closed off to learning?