Want some aloe for that burn?

Today, I schooled an 8th grader on the definition of the word respect.

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.  


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