Thought of the Day: Could school standards be improved by children being taught to simply respect teachers?
As I grew up I was around teachers a lot; my Dad was a voluntary governor for my primary school, a couple of friends’ mothers were teachers and teacher assistants. I was taught to respect them and in general I liked my teachers. However, because of this good example I also knew what a “bad” teacher was in comparison. I did not generalise all teachers by their example, in fact I did the opposite: bad teachers would frustrate me because I knew they could do better, and should do better. I always knew teaching was a difficult profession, and I believed those in it should be the best. The teachers that I know now take this challenge on every day and make me proud to know them; I know the kids in their care will be better for it.
In the news, in government commentary, teachers are not being respected. I would also suggest that a number of parents don’t respect teachers either (whether for personal experiences or other or none) and they are teaching their kids to ignore or disregard a teacher’s place within school.
Without showing respect a child will not listen; if they feel that a teacher is just there to get paid, that what they say doesn’t hold value, or that a teacher has no right to be “telling them what to do” there is no respect shown. If the is no respect then their education is at risk because they will disregard the lesson. It also has the effect of gradually destroying the time for the teacher: more and more are struggling to deal with the lack of respect from the kids, parents and government behind the systems put in place. They work stupidly long hours, give more time than they are paid for, and do not deserve it.
If parents and government teach that teachers are expendable eventually the children lose out. Although I do not think it is right to blame the student completely for a failing grade (there is often complexity around why a child succeeds or doesn’t), nor do I believe we should be blaming teachers solely for slipping standards. Right now, I think it is more important than ever to start listening to those experienced in education about what will work: teachers.
Maybe if children were taught that education was important, and those using their time to teach were respected, then maybe there would be more success seen in the system. If intelligence was prioritised over sex, fame and fortune in today’s media, maybe children would be reaching for something more.