Misbehavior endemic in the school

Talking back to teachers, listening to music and using phones during instruction, leaving the classroom in a state of disarray—these are just a few of the many examples of disrespect students exhibit at school every day. These actions not only disrupt the learning environment, but they also incite a negative relationship between students and their teachers.
“I think that some students simply view us as grading machines and do not treat us as people. This is hurtful because I try to give students the benefit of the doubt by blocking out bias I may hear about them from other teachers, but this often leads to students taking advantage of my kindness,” Elaine Ngo, English Department, said.
While several teachers experience disrespect in the classroom, teachers new to the school are especially prone to witness this type of behavior from students. This is perhaps because more experienced teachers are able to demonstrate their ability to prepare students to excel through years of teaching, while first-year teachers are not given the opportunity to establish their merit in this way. Furthermore, students display this sense of entitlement towards substitute teachers as well.
“I recently had a substitute leave a note telling me that none of the kids were doing what they were supposed to be doing. I have talked to several teachers and we all have a set of students that are constantly off-task when we have substitutes,” Stacy Dawson, English Department, said.
Students engage in activities or behavior that would be unacceptable if their actual teacher were present. For instance, students will move from their assigned seats to sit with their friends or pretend that they are allowed to use their phones during class. Students also find other ways to ridicule the substitute, such as laughing at them for mispronouncing a student’s name while taking roll.
“With substitute teachers, students feel as if there is no authority in the classroom, and that leads to them disrespecting them in any way they can. Students feel a lack of consequences because the person that reprimands them is gone the next day, so the students’ relationship with the actual teacher is not affected,” Junior Adrian Rafizadeh said.
However, it is a misconception that teachers are not affected by the way students treat their substitutes. Substitutes are able to choose which teachers they want to substitute for, meaning that substitutes will not want to fill in for teachers who are known for having difficult classes. Thus, students’ misconduct makes it harder for teachers to find substitutes in the future. Problematically, if a teacher cannot find a substitute, they will be forced to come to work, even if they are sick or have a family emergency.
Teachers are not the only faculty members affected by this lack of respect—custodians, yard duties and cafeteria workers also undergo similar experiences.
“Toilet paper littering the ground and missing soap dispensers are common occurrences in our school bathrooms. Recently, there was even a trout discovered in the bathroom near the track field. None of these are minor mishaps. These are direct, purposeful actions. And for what? At the core, maybe it is just a joke, but it makes the students far less respectable than they should be. People need to stop seeing these things as great excuses for laughs and actually think about the people who have to clean up after their mess,” Junior Benjamin Moskovitz said.
The school’s yard duties have also been treated disrespectfully when regulating traffic flow in the parking lot or around campus. Many students have ignored, talked back or shown poor behavior when yard duties instruct them not to leave camps during tutorial, re-park their cars or cut the lunch line.
Moreover, students often talk back to cafeteria workers attempting to serve food or keep the lunch line organized, as well as purposefully leaving behind trash from their lunch with the expectation that custodians will clean up after them.
“I think this sense of entitlement comes from the stereotype that faculty members such as cafeteria workers and custodians do not benefit society in huge ways. Even though this thought process is incorrect, the fact remains that many students do not give faculty members in occupations of service the respect that they deserve,” Junior Carly Chan said.
Some students like Senior Cynthia Zhou have acknowledged the disrespect cafeteria workers face. Zhou has created cards to demonstrate her appreciation for the workers and often engages in conversation with them. Despite Zhou’s attempts to break these stereotypes, initiatives from the majority of students to mend relationships with faculty and students are few and far between. By analyzing how their actions could affect faculty, students can put an end to their sense of entitlement and learn to treat others how they deserve to be treated.
“Reaching out to the faculty is important because they are such an integral part of not just the school, but also our community and livelihoods as a whole,” Zhou said.