At first, he thought he deserved respect, just for being a human, just for his life experience.
I corrected him- not all humans deserve respect. I will not deny you your human rights to water and the bathroom. I’m not going to throw things at you or try and injure you. I value your life. But you don’t get respect just for being alive. Axe-murderers and rapists are alive. Child molesters and puppy-beaters are alive but I don’t respect them. They have life experience- vastly different life experiences from mine… *side eye*
But you, you 8th grade boy, have done nothing to earn my respect. I have gone to school for seven years to earn a Masters in Music Education. I have taught music and drama for 11 years, grades Pre-K through 12. I have taken students to the International Honor Choir and have a student attending the Boston Conservatory of Music. I know more than you. I have something to teach you. I should have earned your respect.
He countered- but teachers think we don’t respect them for no reason and we do respect them. I respect you for your experiences.
I rebutted- you don’t respect me. If you respected me, you would do the work I require for my class. You would practice the guitar and you would come to class prepared to take a test. When I asked you to stop talking, you would. You wouldn’t tell other teachers how annoying I am when I set expectations (this wasn’t actually about me but another teacher). You don’t respect me or my life experience.
He came back with… nothing. Then he gave me a half-shrug and a bit of a smile and said, “You’re right.”
In your face, 8th grader… wait.