Husband works in the education field.
He is a teacher.
He goes to work every day and deals with all of the students that no one else wants to, or can, deal with. His students rotate in and out of his classroom every day. New students. New situations. New problems. New opportunities.
I saw this comic today: Teachable Moments
And it got me to thinking.
Husband is exposed, daily, to children cussing him out. Calling him names. Accusing him of being a ‘bully’ because he has very clear expectations of these children and he holds them to it.
Every day he deals with children who no longer have expectations presented to them or expected of them. At all. They are not taught consequences for their decisions or actions.
He has been threatened. One threat actually included killing him.
He has been bullied.
He has been ridiculed.
But he returns every day. Because every day he believes there is a student who might respond to structure and expectation.
The hardest part about his job?
Are not the students cussing.
It is the lack of respect from the staff around him. It is when a student cusses at him for the tenth time and the staff who need to address it respond with “he/she didn’t mean it”.
Really? Then why have they repeated it every day, three days in a row? Sounds like they mean it.
When a student threatens him the student is told to say “I’m sorry”. When Husband replies “no, you’re not” because any parent/teacher knows when a child is sincere or not, he is told to “give the child a break”.
Husband is a teacher. Expected to be a disciplinarian. Expected to keep those kids in line and awake.
A child may be (and has been) put on suspension and sent to Husband’s class in another building for telling a teacher “go to hell”. But Husband has been told “f*&# YOU!” by that same child and the child is told, sometimes, to say “I’m sorry”. Sometimes the child gets to sit with one of the probation officers or the director and hang out for awhile then sent back to class. No expectation for the child to change their behavior.
Every expectation for Husband to tolerate the child’s behavior, and understand it. No expectation for the child to change the behavior.
A death threat was made to Husband. Written. On a wall.
The consequence to the student?
The director erased it from the wall.
Children recognize when their behavior is excused. Ignored. Tolerated.
They see when what they do is ignored. And expectations are dropped. THEY SEE THIS!
Husband sees what is happening. He can only control his behavior and expectations with the children. He can’t control the world around him where adults in positions of authority and in roles of potential impact on youths drop all expectations of these children. When there are no expectations, there is nothing to live up to.
There is value, great value, in teachers demanding respect. In having expectations. In understanding the consequences of being a child’s friend instead of their teacher.
There is value in the children knowing this. And some of the adults.
When you expect nothing you will get nothing. Or worse.
You can’t expect change, without expecting change.
PS….I value Husband and admire his staying strong in a world that is losing it’s value of expectation, consequences and respect.