What Happened to Respect?

As a child I was always taught to be respectful to my elders. My parents made sure that I spoke with respect to any adult. When I was in school I called my teachers “Sir.” I always said “please” and “thank you” and it never felt like I was forced to do these things. It was expected and common courtesy. This was the way the world worked.

These days, I am the adult and I do not see this respect being returned. I wonder what happened to common courtesy and why kids don’t behave in respectful ways anymore. Is it not taught at home anymore? Do we not live in a respectful society anymore? It seems like we do not.

I have never been address as “Sir” by any of my students. Maybe times have just changed. But I hear students who call their teacher simply “teacher.” I find that disrespectful. I don’t call them “student,” or “kid.” I address them by name, out of respect. I expect the same thing in return. I also expect the children in my class to say please and thank you, but I have found, more often than not, I don’t get it without having to remind them.

It’s frustrating being a teacher in this day and age. I was disrespected in a handful of ways today. And I couldn’t really do anything about it. I try to do my job to the best of my ability and I treat the students with respect. But it doesn’t get returned. I want to rant and rave about it here in detail, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I was openly disrespected by students who didn’t listen, did the complete opposite of what I said, turned their back on me, walked away, and talked back to me. It was too much! Way too much!

I don’t deserve to be treated this way. A few students in the school feel that it is okay to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Detention, suspension, taking away recess or gym seems to be no deterrent whatsoever to their actions. And we don’t really have the power to do anything else. The kids know that they don’t need to listen because they are really no consequences to their actions. They have learned that respect is not important.

I don’t know what can be done about this lack of respect. I think that it probably will just be something we need to deal with in the future. I wish we didn’t have to but I’ve seen it too much lately and it is heartbreaking.

3 responses to “What Happened to Respect?”

  1. School used to be a way to help prepare children to be grown-ups in the grown-up world.

    You learned to say sir and madam because that is how grown-ups also addressed each other.

    I really wonder about the badly-raised, incorrigibly rude children that seem to predominate today.

    How on earth do they think that they are going to walk across the graduation stage and get a real job in the world when every other word out of their pierced lips is “f this” and “You’re not the boss of me!”?

    Do they really think that in the grown-up world, employers will put up with bad attitude, incompetence and sheer laziness?

  2. I love blogging and getting responses. It is an amazing way to carry on a mature conversation. It’s interesting to see that your blog posting today deals with the subject of maturity. A mature person is one who acts with respect. I have seen mature children, mature beyond their years. I have also seen adults, much older than me, act totally immature. It is baffling to me sometimes, but I think maturity is linked to respect.