Expect Nothing-And Get It

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.

By students.

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.

28 thoughts on “Expect Nothing-And Get It

  1. Have always said that it’s a truly tough job to be a teacher – what ever you do .. it’s neither too much or too little – if a teacher try to learn respect and values .. then it’s too much .. and if he doesn’t do it .. he are weak.
    And with the attitude kids and teens has today – not for all the money. Attitude that they get away with at home too.
    Think teacher is a profession that is totally underrated … and far little supported and appreciated.


  2. Even though I don’t get backed up by my supervisor, at least the students know that I will not tolerate disrespect. When I am trying to verbally control a students’ behavior I see the other students watching. Sometimes they shake their head in disbelief because they know their peer has crossed the line. So I have reached some of them and that is reward enough.


  3. Goodness. You speak to me. I respect your husband. My position is also to be with “struggling” students. It’s not so much emotional scars for me as it is physical attacks. I can’t complain. I chose the job. Everyone says “occupational hazard” but did I really sign up for that? I do know that I, when I accepted this position, I personally, resolved to protect teachers from that garbage, even when it means I have to take it myself. That makes me feel good. And that helps me get out of bed in the morning 🙂


    • Kudos to you! No one appreciates the job Husband does until he isn’t there (day off), then they all wish he was there. But not many truly understand what it’s like to have a kid tell you to “F*$K OFF” and get in your face, or write death threats about you, and your expected to be okay with no one caring. KUDOS to you for what you do. Like Husband, you seem to know it matters to be the one willing to take this crap and try to make them see, even if for ten minutes…you aren’t entitled. You earn your way through life.


  4. This is yet another example of management failure. In a world where we are expected to excuse the children from all responsibility for their actions, I tend to remind the forgivers these “little darlings” will be choosing their nursing homes. It frightens enough for my world. Shame it takes someone saying it out loud for ppl to recognize these are the leaders of tomorrow who will carry the disrespect for older generations into governance.

    Kudos to hubs for staying strong and continuing to demand the respect he clearly deserves.


    • Thanks Red. The kids behavior may stress him out. But his only complaint? The one thing that makes him hang his head in true despair? The adults who don’t get it. They want to be the “good guy”, the “friend”. No one wants to be the one saying “no”. No one wants to be the one who says “you will not talk to me like this and you will be expected to do this….”

      He’s willing.

      Thank you so much for the support!


      • I have always been the heavy. I have a boatload of children, and they would go to someone else’s home rather than have to own that type of behavior. They make me proud when they tell friends, “Don’t act like that. Have some respect for yourself.” Adults do no favors when they act like friends. ❤


        • Exactly! Even with my own children when they would say “why can’t you just be my friend????” I would always reply back because I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND. Any one can be your friend. I am the ONLY one to be your mother.

          Same with teachers and adults. I think you said it perfectly. They aren’t doing the children any favors.

          And I love that your kids would say that. You did good with that Red!


  5. what an amazing job your Hubby has, and what a gift that he works with these kids, it’s evident that he really cares and despite their behaviour, they know that too, it’s just that they’re likely not used to that and don’t know what to do with it. he is making a difference! it’s so sad that he is not backed by the other adults parents included.


  6. It’s incredibly sad when there’s no back up from your colleagues. Kids today seem to have no consideration of others. Makes you wonder how they get along with their own peers when all they think about is themselves hopefully this changes for them as they get older and maybe grow out of it but I’m doubting it if his colleagues are the same way ;-(


    • They’ve seen some successes where he works. But I think those successful kids get to own that. Many of the children he deals with is on a VERY short basis.

      I do worry that they don’t see what they are doing. One of the number one rules for kids is don’t set out consequences, and then not enforce them. It happens every day.

      And all the kids learn is, they don’t have to follow the rules. Which is why they are there to begin with!

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts Claire Cappetta!


  7. I’ve ALWAYS deeply admired people who teach in environments like this, Colleen. It’s easy to be a light to others when people request it, but to offer light to people who don’t see its value, and abuse you for it, is saintly. Really at the top of the human hierarchy, as far as I’m concerned. Your husband has my utmost respect and love.


    • He does not have an enviable job. But he likes it. He’s firm. Takes no crap. The kids don’t have to worry where they stand with him because he makes it clear what he expects by telling them. Thanks you Yaz, I think he is admirable as well.


  8. It’s horrible that your husband is treated this way! Even though he may not receive respect from his students he deserves it 110% – I admire him for his assiduous effort, and he really is doing good for society by sticking to his work.


    • It is horrible Thomas. The sad part is, this school is designed to deal with kids who can not ‘conform’ to the norms of regular school. AND many of these children have behavior problems. The school has built in consequences that are NOT utilized. There are no consequences for things as simple as f-bomb obscenities or death threats to my husband. And we wonder why the kids don’t think they have to toe the line (so to speak).. Thanks for your support!


  9. The “politically correct” wrongs are now in the right. I won’t say who (like lawyers – did I write that?) sued (I mean, pushed) for these changes but the children AND Husband are those that end up with the short end of the stick.

    All through junior high school, my PE teachers were former WWII US Marines. They CARRIED AROUND A BIG SWAT BOARD DRILLED WITH HOLES TO INCREASE IMPACT SPEED. They liberally ensured their swat boards did function as prescribed on a regular basis. Everyone behaved…except for perhaps a couple. But that was it.

    I am sorry, Husband.


    • Thanks for the support Koji. It’s frustrating when the very people you work with and assume have the same goals as you don’t recognize the damage they do to Husband by disregarding his position as a co-worker, teacher, and someone who has MANY years experience working with this population. Husband has children in the class who recognize when another student has overstepped boundaries. And yet that students behaviors are disregarded because it would be an inconvenience to hold them accountable.


  10. Colleen, you will not believe how much I relate to this post this morning. Yesterday I volunteered in my son’s Kindergarten class and could barely sleep a wink last night after what I witnessed yesterday. A little boy went berserk in the class yesterday. He was throwing things…other kids backpacks, papers etc. The teacher asked him to stop and he just exploded. He was screaming at the top of his lungs for her to shut up, leave him alone and that he hated her. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ve dealt with tantrums with my own kids but had never seen anything like this. I can’t believe my son’s teacher has to deal with this. It just left me sick to my stomach that this is happening in Kindergarten. I have so much respect for your husband because he is obviously dealing with this on a much grander scale. I think it would take someone who is very strong to see this everyday. I don’t think I could handle it. That one episode nearly broke my heart.


    • As a child I don’t EVER remember seeing this sort of thing. Now, I hear about it all of the time. I don’t think the teachers get paid enough for the multitude of roles they have to play:


      I commend the women and men who spend their careers trying to teach in an increasingly demanding job.


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