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.