Another year of summer school has come to an end, and I’m wondering once again how I made it through the six weeks. For the second straight year I didn’t miss one day of school (it was a promise I made to myself and to the students on day one), but that takes a toll, especially when the kids change so much from year to year.
Five years ago, when I started, there were the odd “bad ducks,” those kids who were sneaky, who did their best to get over on the teachers. They were few and far between, and we were able to isolate them and deal with them right then and there. The rest of the students were respectful, and were easily redirected when they got a little rowdy.
But now, now we’re in an age where most of the students feel entitled, where if I didn’t hear the “F” word in a given day it was shocking. The level of disrespect towards teachers and towards other students was astounding. Even when threatened with getting kicked out of the room it was like water off a duck’s back with these students. They didn’t blink, and oft times said disrespectful things under their breath on the way out of the room. It didn’t matter how much they were written up, what kinds of disciplines they received, they felt entitled.
And that’s the real difference. Even the “good” kids, when challenged, could pull out the “F” word with the worst of them, and could be disrespectful if you caught them on the wrong day. I couldn’t imagine it five years ago. Even if the kids thought it they wouldn’t have said it. There was an atmosphere of respect, even if it was surface, that’s gone now. Depending on the given day even the best kids would go off on others, including those in authority.
My mother would have torn up my backside for doing anything remotely like that, but most times if we even got in touch with the parents we came away from it knowing they wouldn’t do anything to back us up. Because that’s where the kids get their sense of entitlement from in the first place. Which is the problem. Which is why I’m exhaling now, because I couldn’t for six weeks.