One of my biggest bug bears in teaching is disrespectful people. And not just the pupils, some parents and colleagues fall into this category as well.
As much as I wind the kids up and give them a bit of freedom in my classes I also expect them to work but I find, as do my colleagues, that this is getting to be a less productive approach. Many of us are having to return to the old chalk and talk routines and getting pupils to copy down notes from the board. The lack of respect issue comes when you cut them a little bit of slack and they forget to do the tasks they are given. Very often these same pupils who have done nothing all year are the first to complain when they don’t get the results they expected.
There’s a point that many pupils fail to realise that I’m not teaching and working hard for my own benefit – anyone who teaches knows that we do all this to ensure the kids get the best they can out of school. It’s this lack of respect in terms of you trying to help them that angers me as I could easily just stick films on, photocopy the same worksheets time and again or trail them through textbooks but I try to engage them and challenge them and give some variety. The shrug, grunt and exhaling of air is the response from some.
More and more I’m finding simple manners and curtesies are either disappearing or a surprise to people when they are used in general. We all learned please and thank you as kids and I know it’s something we as parents ensure our own kids use, but a well dressed gent looked surprised yesterday when I thanked him for holding the lift for me – he must work in a pretty harsh office if he’s surprised by that.
It takes two seconds to greet someone in the morning, no effort to say please or thank you and certain no work to see someone is trying to help. I’m not looking for a ticker tape parade or medals (I’m not Mutley) but perhaps to all those who constantly complain about teachers, nurses, waiting staff and others could occasionally say thank you to register their appreciation for the effort made.