In elementary school, we are taught to have basic respect for others, the environment and oneself. However, as we get older and have more responsibilities, we often neglect to maintain these principles of respect to others. Where did our simple traits of human decency go?
We are often influenced by how others act. Picking up on behaviors from parents, siblings and even peers is the leading factor in determining how we act ourselves and show common courtesy, such as expressing gratitude when someone holds the door open for you, or picking up our trash in the cafeteria to ease the burden of our busy custodians.
Young people often express a common disrespect to authority figures both online and in-person that can come off as very offensive and rude. For example, though using the retort “OK boomer” can be comical at times, it is important to maintain a respectful attitude toward the older generation, even if they disagree with our opinions, and refrain from seriously demeaning any group of people for their actions or beliefs.
However, the issue with respect is far more serious than internet memes, especially on school grounds. When we talk to figures of authority, such as our teachers, coaches and mentors, many of us tend to dismiss some of their policies as overly strict or respond to them with a blasé attitude. Sometimes, we just ignore them completely.
Social media use in the classroom has distracted many of today’s teens; more and more people care about what’s on their phone, not what’s on the board. It should be obvious that this kind of behavior is very disrespectful to teachers. It’s totally fine to goof around and use social media, but the classroom setting is neither the right place nor time.
We’re teenagers. We all know that during a lecture, it’s not appropriate to run around and film TikTok videos. Or at the very least, we will have learned this by the time we graduate. While it’s important to make good memories and have fun during high school, we must understand that certain antics are not acceptable when a teacher is spending their time educating you. Learning to respect others and their time is just as important now as it will be once we get into the real world.
Of course, the issue of respect goes both ways. We should always embody the virtue of respect, regardless of differing opinions. If we continue to abstain from respecting fellow students and staff, these habits will definitely carry into adulthood.
Respect starts in the classroom.