Have you ever threatened a student with a phone call home and their response is “Go AHEAD! Call my mama! You want me to call her for you? She won’t care!” followed with an eye roll?
Me too. Twice, actually.
Any variation of the above response is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE.
To begin, it implies several things. First, the parent has not instilled strong values in the student about the importance of respecting others, especially those working hard to provide you the skills and knowledge that you need. Secondly, the parent fails to recognize the importance and value an educator holds in their child’s life. Third, the parent does not want to form a positive relationship with the teacher, which would ultimately benefit the parent, since the goal is to raise good, critical, working citizens. Lastly, the parent does not hold their child accountable for their misbehaviors, ultimately encouraging the behavior to continue.
The foundation starts at home. Parents are the most IMPORTANT players in a child’s education. A parent instills the values and habits of a student that drives them to be successful in the classroom. They also teach them the importance of respect, which is extremely conducive to a positive learning environment. When a student exhibits disrespect, the student is immediately reprimanded by the parent because the parent does not tolerate an ounce of disrespect. A parent emphasizes the importance of education and why it is necessary to obtain, whether they attained it or not.
Parents are the first part of the equation. The adults they interact with outside of their parents are the second.
A student will not be successful if they are not being held accountable by ALL adults in their lives. This includes teachers, neighbors, pastors, community leaders, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc. When a student is in school, the teachers, counselors and staff become the students’ “parents” for the time they are in the building. Not only is it our job to instill useful knowledge and skills as well as provide safety, it is our responsibility to ensure that are students are practicing excellence and speaking to others, especially adults, in a respectful manner.
Although a student is not on your roster or even your grade level, it is important that we continue to hold that child to our expectations of respect and excellence. Respect is important and necessary. What good is having a student with excellent grades and decent test scores if they have no respect for adults? If we give a blind eye to a student that is clearly exhibiting disrespect, we have basically told the student that it is okay to display disrespect in front of adults that are not responsible for you. When we are in that building, we are responsible for ALL students.
From experience, I’ve learned that students will be combative when they are disciplined by an unknown educator. This has definitely deterred me from disciplining other students because I thought I’d be wasting my time going “back and forth” with a student that believes he or she shouldn’t respect me. But as time progressed, I learned the importance of disciplining ALL students when I realized that many of the current 7th graders will be in my class next year. If I don’t voice respect as an expectation, who knows what will be of their behavior next year.
Teaching should not fall on just the shoulders of the teacher. When a student’s bad grades or misbehavior is not up to standard, it MUST become a concern for the parent, teachers, counselors, administrators and heck, even the pastor! The students needs to see that the adults in his or her life have very high expectations for him or her. It gives priority to the situation and has the potential to produce a change in the student’s academic performance.
We need both parts of the equation in order to see the best in our students. We are responsible for our babies until they can truly apply the skills and knowledge on their own, without the help of an adult. Till then, we continue to teach. It truly takes a village to educate a child.
-the angry public school teacher