Doerzman: Teachers deserve more respect


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Many students shirk their class responsibilities by showing up late, talking back to the teacher and using their cell phones during class time. Columnist Kevin Doerzman believes students should attend class and pay attention to show respect to their teachers.

Kevin Doerzman

When I was growing up, my mother always taught me to respect those around me. Not only authority figures in my life, but my friends and siblings as well. There are a lot of things that go into being respectful, such as being kind and courteous. While growing up we learn a number of things about how to treat people, from school, family, the media, etc.

It’s kind of strange then, that these days I see so much disrespect exhibited and it seems to be a never-ending cycle. Are we really becoming more and more disrespectful, sarcastic and insensitive? The most astounding manifestation of disrespect that I find on a daily basis is in the classroom. It’s not what you’d think — classmates being harsh to one another. No, it’s an issue between the student and the teacher.

It’s difficult for me to believe that students who are supposed to be the subordinate of the teacher act in such thoughtless ways. They’re not always as polite as they should be. It’s bothersome to those who are trying to pay attention in a class that they really enjoy when there are some obnoxious, bimbo-headed girls or some snapback enthusiast and his “bros” behind me gabbing about their drunken escapades the weekend prior. Of course, from time to time I’m checking the time on my phone or returning a text message — I won’t try to hide that. All the teachers I’ve had really cherish the opportunity they have to enrich us and teach us their passion in life.

There are a lot of instances where students aren’t giving the teacher what they deserve in terms of kindness and attention.

First, students get up and walk out of class without any regard for those trying to listen. They don’t even attempt to leave quietly. I understand that sometimes there’s a job that a student has to get to or some prior engagement. It’s really bothersome when a huge percentage of the class takes off after a pop quiz. It’s even worse when you come to class every time, study hard and take notes, and those people want the answers to a group quiz.

Second, it’s really disruptive to the entire class to have people showing up 15 minutes late routinely. Of course, there are times when we all mess up and the alarm clock malfunctions, or the janitor was cleaning the bathroom. I’ve seen students walk in 15 to 20 minutes late routinely. When this happens, all attention shifts away from the teacher and onto Mr. or Ms. Fashionably Late. I love it when a teacher calls out a student who is punctual about their tardiness. Why do people spend the money if they don’t want to go to class and receive the gift of education?

Third, is it too difficult to make sure your phone is silenced before class begins? Even putting it on vibrate is disruptive. A hardwood desk plus a buzzing brick of an iPhone doesn’t necessarily help the class concentrate. In one of my classes, someone was either playing Words with Friends or was really popular on Twitter, because their phone beeped about a dozen times. Usually after the first beep or ring of a phone, the individual gets really embarrassed and shuts it off. Yes, there are times when it’s necessary to have your phone on vibrate. We all know that it’s acceptable if there’s a family or work issue, but not if you’re making plans to party this Friday night.

Fourth, and probably the most disrespectful behavior concerning classroom etiquette: people who talk back to the teacher. Is it not enough that they have to spend all that time and money to be able to teach us? In one of my classes, it’s almost a daily occurrence. I should keep tally and see if we can set a record for most days without an incident. Yes, people complain a lot in their mundane lives which they so desperately want us all to revolve around. Yet what the teacher says goes. They make the rules, and they give the grades. There’s a reason they’re in front of the class and you’re in the desk. It’s to shut your mouth, pay attention and get a good grade so your parents will pay your cell phone bill. That way, you can tweet during calculus.

I think we all need to take a little bit of time and rearrange our thinking processes. Stop being so self-centered and try to have better manners toward our teachers. They put in so much effort to make sure we learn as much as possible. We should be taking advantage of the opportunities we have here at Iowa State.

Kevin Doerzman is a sophomore in psychology from Burlington, Iowa.