Teaching Respect Through Teacher Empowerment


Education is much different today than it was thirty years ago. Much of this difference is welcomed progress. Technology and easier access to information has enhanced the learning process. New teaching methodologies have challenged and enhanced existing ideas.

It hasn’t all been good though. Teachers have lost power; students now have control.

Let me give an example of what I mean. Thirty years ago, if a student complained to their mom or dad that their teacher was bad in any way, the student would be told to respect and listen to the teacher. Now, the parent will blame the teacher and complain to the principal. Even worse, the principal will confront the teacher and possibly take punitive actions. Hence, the teacher has lost all power and respect.

Dear parents: I want to let you in on a little secret. Your wonderful little child will tell you anything to get out of trouble, surprise! Failed the math test? No, no, not my child’s fault; let’s blame the teacher. Cheated on an exam? No, not my little girl, she wouldn’t do that. If you really want to help your child, whenever they shift the blame to the teacher or anybody else, tell them what your parents would have told you. Tell them to listen to the teacher. Tell them to look in the mirror to find the problem (and solution). Teach them respect.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not some authoritarian dictator; I’m more of a freedom loving libertarian if you need a label. However, the situation in schools, all over the world, has gotten out of control. Students own the teachers now.

If the teacher wants to be strict and punish their child, great. It is for the child’s own good. But, what about my little Tommy’s feelings? Well, if you want to raise a sissy, give little Tommy a cookie and tell him how great he is. Then when he gets older, he can be the follower, not the leader, in society.

Let’s look at it a different way. 5,000 years ago, if I wanted to eat, I had to hunt or farm in order to get food. If I didn’t, I didn’t get food; hence, I would die. OK, let’s go today. If I have a job, if I want to get paid $1, I need to do work to get that $1. If I don’t do the work, the boss doesn’t have to give me the $1. If I own my own business, if I want to get paid $1, I need to add value to the customer. If I don’t, the customer doesn’t have to give me the $1. Now, if I’m in school, if I don’t turn in the assignment, I don’t get the grade. The teacher doesn’t have to give me the grade.

School is much more than just learning math, science, history, and all the other subjects. Students need to learn how to work with people. They need to learn how to be responsible. Maybe most importantly, they need to learn how to give respect.

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