Attack on Principal! It’s Time Students Learn the Values of Respect
Mangaluru: As an alumni of Milagres Institution-Mangaluru where I did my early schooling till VIth std (and later my high school and college at St Aloysius Institution-Mangaluru) it was very disturbing to hear about a grown up youth assaulting the college principal, just because the former was trying to bring him back on the right path. Was it wrong on the part of the principal by not allowing the student to appear for the exams because of shortage of attendance? I don’t think so. Rules should be followed, and the college principal did the right thing by adhering to the rules and regulations, irrespective of caste or creed, race or color. But the student getting arrogant and assaulting the principal is something needs to be taken very serious and stern action , so that such incidents will never happen again.
I see the behavior and attitude of the present students of Milagres Junior and Senior College on daily basis since our web office is located very adjacent to the institute. There is total lack of good manners, attitude, gesture, politeness, kindness etc etc- and its very sad to note that such students are getting education at a well respected Catholic institution. Is it because these students come from rich families, or is it because their parents never taught them them good manners, and the values of respecting others, especially the adults. It could be that the Principal might have been little harsh, but that doesn’t mean a student had to raise his hands on the principal.
I too was a student, like many of my batch-mates, and we too had a few rude and harsh teachers/headmasters/principals-but we never went out of control and harm our mentors/teachers. Some of our teachers during our school days used rulers on our knuckles and buttocks- but we remained calm and patiently bear the consequences. Just imagine if such kind of teachers were in schools/colleges these days- the students would have retaliated in harming or even killing them. Seems like now it is a The Spoilt Generation, where Parents who fail to exert authority breeding youngsters with no respect for anyone.
A growing lack of adult authority has bred a ‘spoilt generation’ of children/youth who believe grown-ups must earn their respect. Attempts to ’empower’ children/youth and a lack of discipline in the classroom have also fostered rising levels of violence, at home, at school and in the street. A lack of discipline has created a generation of spoilt youngsters. Seems like young kids and youth are becoming increasingly violent and disrespectful towards their teachers, ‘parent battering’ is on the rise in some cases, but kept secret.
Children and youth of the present spoilt generation are used to having their demands met by their parents and others in authority, and that in turn makes them unprepared for the realities of adult life. This has consequences in every area of society, from the classroom to the workplace, the streets to the criminal courts and rehabilitation clinics. Being spoilt is now classless – from aristocracy to underclass, present youth are now spoilt in ways that go far beyond materialism. This is partly the result of an inability to distinguish between being authoritative versus authoritarian, leaving concepts such as authority and boundaries blurred. And the consequences are measurable – we see lot of restlessness between youth, either they get into fights or in violence.
This is being exacerbated by misguided attempts to give youth more control over their lives. Youngsters’ inflated sense of their own importance is fueling the obesity epidemic, because children/youth feel they have the right to demand food which would once have been given as occasional treats. Some of them thought to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder might simply have never learned how to behave. Calling for ‘commonsense policies’ to put youth in their place, there should be an absolute presumption both in law and in policy that adults “know better” and are in the right unless there are exceptional reasons. Teachers’ authority has been vastly weakened legally, professionally and culturally at present. And that’s the reason we see such kind of incidents at college campuses.
The present youth no longer have boundaries. It’s bad for them and it’s bad for parents. Yet another reason for children and youth not to get the required guidance is because some parents, both dad and mom work, as a result parents cannot invest the time in their children that they should. With such kind of incidents happening now, it is advisable that parents should be taking a greater responsibility for their children and that teachers and other figures in authority should be able to exercise their powers when the parameters are broken. But not all students are bad, the vast majority of young people play positive roles in their communities, do well at school and are a credit to their families and themselves. Like they say, there will be a few bad apples in the basket”, and these few bad students in the college spoil the reputation of the institute. So, It’s time the youth/students learnt to respect teachers. The lack of respect towards teachers is not just morally wrong, it’s sabotaging the education system.
It’s time to really recognize the role teachers play in developing young people’s minds. Most of us can remember at least one teacher who had a profound effect on our early life, someone who had a positive impact on us and made us the person we are today. They were often the most educated people locally – to be consulted as a source of guidance and advice. Sadly, things have changed now. Threats and assaults have become a ‘daily reality’ for teachers. When teachers do get a mention in the media they are often blamed for a vast array of society’s ills: from the loss of good manners to the decline in competitive sport to the shortage of entrepreneurs.
This attitude towards teachers is not just morally wrong, it’s sabotaging the education system. If we constantly attack teachers, we will miss out on generations of talented graduates who will not want to join a profession that is constantly derided. That’s why it’s time to really recognize the role teachers play in developing young people’s minds and bettering society. And it’s time that students respect their teachers, and not ignore and harm them. There are quietly heroic teachers who, against great odds, enthuse their classes, bring out the best in their pupils, and help them overcome the things that are holding them back. It was the teacher behind every great inventor, every great philosopher and every great idea in history. Fierce independent minds – from Nelson Mandela to Steve Jobs – have paid tribute to the influence of a teacher during their early years.
It is not only teachers or headmasters or principals who disrespect students. The students disrespect them as well. I’ve seen far too many students talk back to teachers in a way that I wouldn’t dare even speak to my own parents, let alone a teacher. However, the talking back does not come out of nowhere, either. Essentially, the lack of respect is mutual among teachers and students.
On the other hand, I am not saying that every Principal, Headmaster/Headmistress or Teacher are 100% good and perfect- there are quite a few of them with peculiar attitude, egoism, are non-courteous and act proud and so on. Many a times incidents like what happened at Milagres College take place when students are admitted on bribe/capitation fees and not on their merit- they take advantage of that. Students good in their academics have to go through lots of hurdles in order to get a seat in a reputed institution. Anyways, I also believe that it is due to the initial behavior of teachers also that students show no respect to their mentors.
As much as I believe that teens and youth should be raised to respect their elders, in the environment of a school or college, the teacher needs to set the example. When the teacher sets the first example as to what is expected in a classroom, they more likely than not will receive the respect that they show initially. If a teacher displays a lax and somewhat carefree attitude, they will receive a lax and carefree behavior from the students. If a teacher has a snarky attitude towards students, the students will come right back with that snarky attitude, due to the initial lack of respect. As Dwight Moody said, “A good example is far better than a good precept.”
Teachers Must Earn Students’ Respect also! Many educators may complain that students talk back, misbehave, and act out with little regard for teacher or classmates. My response to these educators is, “What have you done to earn their respect?” The truth is, times have changed. Long gone are the days when a teacher’s presence alone demanded respect — from students as well as their parents. Today, in a society where good morals are on the decline and self-centeredness is on the incline, teachers can’t afford to educate students the way their teachers did back in the day. The present teachers have to get respect the hard way-they have to earn it.
One of the best ways to earn a student’s respect in the classroom is by being the kind of person your students want to become. Put another way, if your students don’t want to become you (i.e. duplicate your success), then you don’t need to be there. We’re talking about integrity. Whenever teachers promote success to students without first modeling it, they’re seen as hypocrites in their eyes, even if they don’t admit it. In addition, they lose credibility in the classroom. I personally believe that, as teachers, others should want what teachers have. I’m not talking about material possessions, position, power, or perceived status; I’m talking about good character. Character is something money can’t buy, but everyone admires and respects — even if students don’t like teachers personally.
That is one of the most basic principles of successful teaching; however, it’s one of the most difficult lessons for new teachers to learn. The #1 question a student has in his or her mind when first meeting their teacher is Who are you? Trust me, as a teacher you need to generate a response that’s much greater than the sound of your name. Unless your last name is Modi, Gandhi, Khan, or Bachchan, you’re going to have to earn the respect of your students. Even though you have all the good qualities and manners that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be respected, but at least you will gain your students’ attention long enough for them to listen to what you have to say about respect. If students get the impression you don’t respect yourself, they’ll conclude that they don’t have to respect you, either.
The next couple of questions students ask themselves to determine whether or not they will respect their teacher is, “Why is what you’re teaching me important?” and “Do you mean what you say?” I think you can draw your own conclusions about why your answers to those questions are critical to building your credibility in the classroom. I will tell you that you must immediately address all three of those questions, and you must do it clearly, confidently, and concisely. Your respect and your reputation in the classroom depend on it. So teach with passion, and remember to practice what you teach.