Student behavior nonpluses author
Published: Sunday, April 25th, 2004
The more I hear about behavior today, the happier I am to have been born when I was. In the dim, distant past, our parents and teachers knew we were trainable even when we tried to be a bit rebellious. They didn’t bother with lengthy discussions about our short comings; they simply took care of problems when they arose and did their best to help us become responsible human beings. While listening to a discussion about missing silverware in the school cafeteria, I became more than a little nonplused when the comment was made that the students put it into the garbage rather than putting it into the proper receptacles, thus causing a shortage and the possibility of changing to plastic ware so such a problem would no longer exist. Somehow, the logic escaped me and left me with the notion that by today’s standards, we’d rather change our approach than train the students properly. Shortly before I heard that discussion, I had been told that I would certainly have problems in college classrooms these days because students wear their hats and sun glasses in class while talking on their cellular phones. Those phones had not come into existence when I retired, but many students were allowed to wear hats and sun glasses in some classes. As you can imagine, they didn’t even think of wearing either in my classes after the first comment about the sun’s not shining indoors. I rarely had to do more than to point to my eyes or head after that just in case someone forgot where he was. No federal cases had to be made, and we proceeded with the hour’s work. I even doubt that I would have had real problems with phones as one of the large hats would have become a great repository for them. I guess I cared enough about the students both in public schools and at the university to want to help them with their training to become responsible, respectable adults as well as to give them as much knowledge as possible. I firmly believe that real teachers and parents today care just as deeply and want the students to learn even the simplest tasks, such as placing silverware into the proper receptacles and to practice manners wherever they are. They don’t want standards lowered of ignored. Most of us can remember being corrected, and we may even recall some of those corrections rather fondly because we know those in charge cared enough to help us learn right from wrong.
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