Yes, I’m talking about high school.
I recently returned to high school after teaching adults and elementary over the past seventeen years. There are a few things that surprise me about high school and quite a bit that does not.
For example, they are still kids and kids love certain things; candy, a pat on the back, a well placed “good job” and “I’m proud of you.” Even the occasional hug. They still love interest in what they are doing and saying, just like elementary school kids, and want adults to notice them. They want to make someone proud. They want to be appreciated and heard, even when you do not agree, they notice that you listened.
Now, those things that surprise me. First, let me say that kids will do what they can get away with and will try to push the boundaries. What I am seeing as students walk through the doors each morning:
Hoodies up, pants down – male and female. I see way too much underwear and it ain’t pretty.
Girls dressed like street walkers and pole dancers. Seriously.
Boobs, butts, and midriffs, and whatever else they can get away with.
Now, our district has policies and you can hear the teachers and administrators yelling at the kids to take out the earbuds, pull down the hoodies, pull up the pants, cover up the boobs and midriffs, wear leggings under the torn clothing … you get the drift.
The surprise is not that the kids are doing it but that the parents send their kids to school like this. Not just one or two. Not even only a handful or two. Out of 1350 kids I’d say 10% are dressed completely appropriately, another 10% appropriate for the most part, and 5% get “the look” from teachers because they are close to breaking the rules but not quite. That leaves 75% of students dressed inappropriately for school.
Seriously! I feel bad for male teachers because some of these young ladies look like grown women with their hair, nails, and make-up and dressed like a night out on the town. When did it become acceptable to send your girls to school looking like they turn tricks, dance around poles, or like they are TRYING to turn on every guy in the room?
We wonder why teachers seem to be having more sex with students? They do not look or act like children and parents are sending them out into the world like this. No, it is not an excuse. Teachers should know better. Students are children, regardless, If you cannot figure that out, leave the profession.
Now, behaviors of students are getting more out of control as well and it is a reflection of home life. My students can string together profanities (usually correctly) but cannot ask to use the bathroom correctly. One, parents, stop swearing around your kids as if it is a new language. Two, schools, push appropriate grammar to both student and faculty.
These students will not determine my future retirement, thankfully; however, they will determine our children’s future.
Parents, get a grip on parenting. Stop being the bad example. Stop being permissive. Parenting is hard, I know. If one is hard, do not have more. Really. Focus on making the one you have the most awesome kid they can be instead of passing on half raised children to the school systems, it isn’t the school’s job to raise your child and neither is it the teachers’.
SCHOOL SYSTEMS: HOLD PARENTS ACCOUNTABLE. STATES AND FEDS: HOLD PARENTS ACCOUNTABLE.
As a teacher, I am held accountable for more than just teaching your child and mine. Teachers are being held accountable for the mental well-being of students, we are social workers. We are held accountable for student attendance. We are held accountable via a test for student achievement when parents write bogus notes for student absences, unexcused absences and tardies. Students can miss half a school year and then we have to give them a standardized test to gauge whether or not I did my job in imparting knowledge into the student’s brain. Perhaps we should set it up to represent the actual class time a student has. If they are in attendance 50% of the time the test should reflect 50% correct answers. If the student has more than 50% correct, give the teacher a bonus because he/she somehow got more into the brain and it stuck than the child’s attendance allowed.
Okay, back to the title. I addressed the “Too many boobs” and “butts” issue and now on to the penis drawings.
My lovely students feel it is appropriate to draw or write on furniture, which is so very not appropriate in and of itself. My furniture is entering its second year, actually the entire school is two years old and it is the city’s showcase school. So, seeing students deface the school is disheartening, to say the least, but to see them drawing and writing profanities on the furniture is incredibly sad. The students complain about the school being dirty, it isn’t when I arrive at 7:00 each morning but by 8:00 there is trash on the floor (breakfast) and by the end of the day it looks like food fights have taken place in the stair wells. At lunch time, students leave food on the tables and floors, spilled liquids on tables and floors, many cannot be bothered to dispose of their own trash. They just walk away. Some purposely spit food out and where it lands is where it stays.
I put boxes outside my room for students to have a drop and swap of breakfast items. I put any leftovers on my desk for students to eat throughout the day (which they do). I plan to do the same in the cafeteria when school gets back in session. I am hoping that the kids will see the benefits of not wasting food and picking up items to keep their school clean.
In Japan, students in schools are expected to clean up after themselves and many schools have no custodial services. Students and staff clean up and do not make messes. In America, we clean up after kids all the time and do not expect them to do it for themselves so it is
No wonder they act like little animals flinging food and feces. We, as a society, have allowed this behavior. Parents either do not pick up the home at all and do not train the children or do it all for the children and schools do the same. I have had elementary students tell me that it is the “janitor’s job” to clean up after them when I caught they throwing things on the floor.
We, as a society, need to hold parents accountable for education and manners. Recently, a guidance counselor at a staff meeting told us of a parent conference he had that week. The parent asked why she was being told about her son’s attendance (or lack thereof) and wanted to know why he showed her the child’s report card (he is failing). She said it had nothing to do with her. Yeah.
This is why our kids are failing. This is more prevalent than you may think. I have seen this attitude in urban, suburban, and rural school districts. It bridges socio-economic gaps.
My suggestion is to hold parents accountable from day one of prekindergarten and be consistent through graduation. However, a teacher cannot make this happen. A school principal cannot make this happen. This needs to start at the Department of Education for each state and the US. Do not even get me started on truancy laws because they are not effective when not upheld. Do not just pass laws but carry them out. Pass laws that make parents pay a penalty, whether monetarily or time based, and you will see a change in behaviors.
Teach all kids parenting skills – beginning in elementary (babysitting skills). Teach kids manners – beginning in elementary. Teach kids how to clean and instill the desire for order and cleanliness (we know kids learn better in clean and orderly environments). Hold mandatory parenting and manners classes for parents whose kids break the rules. Hold English and vocabulary classes for parents in order to assist them in speaking better (less profanity) around their children and to assist with better job skills.
As a society, we need to take back the right and wrong of child-rearing and teaching. It is so much harder to break bad habits once they are in place but if we start at day one, we can prevent some of those bad habits from forming or at least curb them a bit. People conform to the majority – it is just how it is – so the majority needs to be trained appropriately.
Oh, and stop drawing penises on my tables.