Videos surface all over the internet, frequently showing debacles happening in public schools. Whether it is videos of fights between students or between students and teachers, these incidents are always shrouded in an element of humor for the younger audience.
Although we find this obnoxious footage of high school students shocking and a bit humorous, the most alarming aspect of these incidents is a reflection of a growing culture of disrespect towards teachers.
A recent incident unfolded in the beginning of the month that involved a teacher at Maywood Academy High School, who punched a student after the student threw racial slurs and a basketball at him. In footage taken by other students, the teacher remained calm as he asked the student to leave the premises, but the student ignored the requests, which resulted in the teacher eventually losing control and punching the student. The teacher was arrested for suspicion of child abuse, while the 14-year-old student was treated for mild injuries in a Los Angeles hospital.
Violence against any child or student should be condemned and handled diligently, but this incident also forces us to confront the way students talk and behave towards their teachers.
There is undoubtedly a rising culture of negligent behavior and disrespect in school settings. This involves a wide array of attitudes and interactions within the school environment, including students not doing their work, disobeying rules and ignoring the demands of their teachers. This also includes verbally abusing or belittling other students and teachers, making a mockery of class lessons and general disrespect for those in authority or leadership roles.
JC Bowman, the executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, talked on behalf of the increased bullying of teachers by students.
“We see many children today who are raised in a culture of disrespect,” Bowman said. “Parents do not exercise appropriate authority; therefore, some children lack humility and respect. That behavior is often extended to the classroom in many cases.”
This statement makes a great point about the lack of humility and respect within the classroom. Many students do not understand that when you’re a student, there are more important concerns than getting a few laughs from classmates. Teachers are given a role in which they are expected to guide, lead, educate and set boundaries.
When students cross boundaries and behave disrespectfully, they detract from their peers’ potential to learn as well as their own education. Accepting leadership and boundaries is something we all must learn early in order to have better personal and professional relationships. Practicing respect towards teachers, school staff, and faculty can breed maturity and empathy.
Being an educator is hard work and teachers often spend a lot of their own spare time and money throughout the school year to properly support their students. This makes the mistreatment of educators even more alarming due to the lack of awareness and respect on students’ parts.
Teachers salaries are disappointingly low for how much they pour their hearts and souls into their work. They are in the education sector because they have a love for learning, teaching and students — this should be enough to afford them respect and compassion right off the bat.