Venice High School

Opinion: Students disrespecting their teachers needs to be acknowledged

“You’re a terrible teacher. No one cares about school.”

Well, that’s definitely something a teacher never wants to hear during his or her career.

Those words have been uttered by students before, believe it or not. This is a troubling epidemic that must be acknowledged and handled carefully.

As kids, we were always taught to respect your elders and people in authority. In the school setting, that includes all teachers and administrators. However, I’ve noticed that some students seem to have never heard anything like this, and disrespect their teachers.

Teachers have a simple job: to teach students material and make sure they understand it. They don’t deserve to deal with rude students that try to make their lives difficult. As students, we don’t deserve to learn in a negative environment. Teachers don’t pick on students just out of boredom or bias. They single people out to discipline them and make sure the learning environment stays focused.

Students who disrespect teachers are, to put it mildly, extremely inconsiderate. This is not only to the teacher, but to other peers in the classroom. Students are at school to learn, not to hear their fellow classmate(s) talk smack to the teacher. As a junior, it’s crucial that I am focused and learning as much information as I can from the teacher to pass the classes and tests, but I definitely don’t need teachers dealing with disrespectful kids in the middle of lecture. It takes away all the attention from learning.

Phones are a rather big issue in this case. There’s been a consistent problem with students constantly on their phones during class and not paying attention to the teacher lecturing. This is a sign of disrespect in the fact that the students totally disregard what a teacher has to say, as if they don’t care at all. The worst part of this is if a student refuses to hand over the phone when specifically requested by a teacher. In one of my classes, my teacher told one girl, who had been on her phone the entire class time, to put it on his desk. The girl simply smirked and put it away in her pocket, only to have it out again a few minutes later. This attitude is that of one who doesn’t think a teacher should ever tell her what to do. These are people who typically think they can do anything, and no adult has the right to tell them otherwise.

In another class, which was combined AP and honors, there was one notorious student who would always talk back to the teacher in class with no shame. Whenever the teacher called on her to read a passage, she would look at the teacher with scorn and refused to say anything, or would say “Mister, are you serious?”

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not singling out my own school by using my anecdotes. This is happening everywhere, not just in one or a few schools. There are students’ videos on YouTube of their fellow classmates bullying teachers. On YouTube, I searched “student bullies teacher” and I watched a video titled “Female Teacher Bullied & Harassed by Entire Class in Chicago.” It is an absolute disgrace and horror to see students treat a teacher this way by making horribly rude comments. I noticed that at one point, a student held up a desk over the teacher’s head. Additionally, the person recording the video made no attempt to help or console the teacher, and even laughed at students’ antics.

The sad thing is that some teachers just give up trying to change the students. It is so much effort put into trying to help the students, who just don’t see that, and even if they do, the teacher’s efforts are usually disregarded. The students think that they’re the ones who are right. Eventually, teachers have used so much wasted effort that it seems futile to try any more.

Luckily, a majority of students that I’m acquainted with are well-mannered and respectful in class, but there’s a special few who just aren’t.

Calling a student’s home to report to their parents only goes so far. Teachers should, in the face of disrespect, keep their cool and remain respectful. Teachers also should not just ignore the contempt from students; they should try to strictly combat it. Being too lenient doesn’t work and will only make things worse as students don’t see a limit to their actions. Students like these must be disciplined.

The classroom should not be a stage for a power struggle between student and teacher. What happened to respect? We need to speak up and bring it back. Teachers, or anyone for that matter, don’t deserve rude treatment like this.