My Rant on the Public Schools and Parents of Today

I will no longer be working in the public school system in Texas. One day was enough to make me feel utterly disappointed in the parents and public schools of Texas. I have never observed such disrespect, obnoxious and ludicrous behavior from children. This is not just “kids will be kids” either. Cursing, fighting, touching inappropriately, screaming in the halls, not listening in class, etc…I cry for the future generations if these are the future leaders of Texas. Cultural differences do not excuse the lack of respect I saw in one day in the hallways of this school.

Indiana has it’s problems, and new laws that I do not support. However, I helped out in schools and saw a huge difference in the behavior of children there compared to Texas. There is much more respect for teachers and administrators from kids of all ages there. There is not one predominant ethnic group in my home town of Indiana as there is in Texas. My home town of Columbus is noted as one of the most ethnically diverse areas in Indiana. Those challenges considered, the children, the parents, and the school system is far and above a better system than I was exposed to today as a substitute in Texas.

The power of teachers in Texas has been stripped down to yelling and handing out detention or calling parents. One kid who got in trouble was confronted by a teacher who had just given him a warning and then said she would call his mother answered, “Who cares…she doesn’t give a shit what I do.” Kind of summed up the day. This kid was 14 years old. Nice.

I applaud the teachers that face that every day and stay there. It’s not for me. It’s a wonder they are able to teach those kids anything given they have to yell over the class half the time just to be heard. Out of 35 kids in the class I monitored, six kids actually did the in class assignment. The others played, talked, and five tried to start fights and leave class. Unfortunately, the 25 percent of students causing real problems in the class ruin the class for students who do try. Letting them know consequence such as going to the principal or getting written up…doesn’t seem to matter to them at all. They have no fear of their parents being upset with them or disappointed in them if they get into trouble. Why is that?

When I was a kid, the thought of my dad finding out I got in trouble at school made me literally ill. I couldn’t eat because I knew I would vomit. Now that is intimidation. He didn’t beat me, but he was an officer in the Army. He was a big man, with a steel stare that could make you feel physically beaten without even raising a finger. Our punishment at home was worse after getting in trouble at school. What happened to parenting over the last 30 years?

Yes, I blame the parents. The children come to us with these behaviors, so why shouldn’t I blame the parents? After all, parents have control of the children the first 6 years, 24 hours a day.  Are they teaching them in restaurants that there are times they have to sit, behave and not be running around like lunatics? I see a lot of bad behavior in public places. Anyone who visits Walmart after 8 pm can see those behaviors.

I hear the excuses from parents in stores and those I have known that are under the age of 35 about trying to disciplining their children. “I work…I don’t have time to watch everything they do…I got her a phone to keep track of her so what else can I do?…I know he is only 12 but all his other friends have cell phones…if I take away his games, he drives me nuts until I give them back.”

It’s called parenting. You are not their best friend. If you do it right, you will probably hear them say…”I hate you” at least once as the parent. It hurts at the time, but it will pass. You WILL WILL WILL have to sacrifice some of your own fun and enjoyment to stay home and watch them when they are grounded. You will have to stay home instead of going to the store with your three year old at 10:30 pm because it is past their bed time. Surprise, you will have to become an adult, controlling not only what you do, but what your kid does as well! That means not exampling foolish behaviors in public that you don’t want your child to mimic. Hold your tongue instead of screaming at a sales clerk or yelling road rage in the car with the kid in the back seat. They hear you and copy you. You will have to listen to them complain and nag you when they want out of the punishment, but you are the adult and giving in does not create the lesson that their actions have consequences. Learning those lessons young might keep them out of jail someday!  That is your job. You are on this job 24/7 with no bathroom breaks. What they do or do not do every minute should matter more than anything else you do with your life until they move out of your home!

So as a parent, really be attentive to your kid. If they misbehave at home, in stores, in public, I guarantee you they behave worse at school. If you can not handle those kids at home, how do you expect a stranger in school to do better? Be responsible, act with them how you want them to act. Make them accountable for their behavior. When they get in trouble at school, carry on the punishment at home so they know there are consequences and that you have expectations of how they represent your family when in public. They are a representation of your family when they are in public and should be told that.

I knew the expectations of my family and that if my actions dictated punishment at school, I better prepare for worse punishment when I got home. My dad told us that if we were to be taken to jail, do not call him. He will leave us there because we obviously broke a law and deserve to be there. He meant it. He followed through. Tough love taught us that we were accountable for our actions at any age. I was grounded for a month for arguing with a teacher at school. No television, go straight into my room after school and only out to eat or go to the bathroom, and no noise. If I was banging around in my room and trying to argue about punishment, I got more time added to my sentence.

I knew my dad and mom would not give in, so I learned to deal with it and not do it again. Consistency does work. Unfortunately, good parenting that creates a respectful child requires patience and hard work that very few parents today are willing to tolerate. What job or television show is more important that creating and raising a good human being?

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One thought on “My Rant on the Public Schools and Parents of Today

  1. Unfortunately, this is what I deal with every day as a teacher’s aid in one of the largest middle schools in Pennsylvania. I can relate to your disappointment, concern, and even disgust with the behavior of today’s average teen. This shameful behavior is not limited to Texas and Pennsylvania; sadly, it is prevalent in (most) schools. However, as you mentioned, not all students fall into this category. There are lots of students who are very respectful and in compliance with what is asked of them. Sadly, not enough.
    I too was raised to respect others, especially my elders and authority. There were no excuses- only consequences. Like you, I paid (and still do) the utmost respect to my parents, simply because that is the lifestyle I was taught. Respect begins with respecting one’s parents. If a child is allowed to disrespect their parent, the child will grow up disrespecting others. Children learn what they live; parents are their first teachers. Children will indeed emulate their parents’ behavior. Too many parents fail to make rearing their children a number 1 priority. In a lot of cases, work takes precedence.
    In working with well over 100 students each week, some in the classroom and some in the ISS (in school suspension) room, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of these behavioral issues stem from a home empty of love. We all need to be loved; it is human instinct. In working 1:1 with students with behavioral issues, I have found that they are very nice people, deep inside. I have found that when I really listen to them and let them know what they have to say is important, they show respect. Too many children are ignored at home. (They feel as if they are not worthy of their parents’ time; self esteem issues begin to develop; they seek the love and attention they desire; they get in trouble for some type of defiance or rebellion.) They seek attention in school, even if it’s negative.
    I am in agreement with you 100% that parents are to blame for the downfall of so many students in school today. Parents need to discipline their children at home, instead of rewarding them with electronics. Parents need to enforce the act of their children respecting others, beginning with their parents. Ultimately, parents need to be parents to their children, beginning with making time for them, disciplining them and ultimately- loving them.

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