End of an Era- Teachers with Authority

Will teachers ever be the respected members of society again? Will they regain the authority that they have lost? Will students ever look up to their teacher as the leader in the classroom or are we at the end of an era?

Students know that teachers can't do anything about disruptive behavior. I've been in several classrooms over the past 25 years and nothing is more disheartening than to have a student tell a teacher, "I'm not going to do that and you can't make me." The sad part is .... they're right and they know it. Students knew (even before teachers did) that teachers don't really have any authority. A teacher can send them to the office. But will their decision be supported? A teacher can take away recess, but it only takes one phone call from a parent and the decision is reversed.

  I don't think that students (or some parents) really get why teachers teach. It isn't for the summers off or the pay. It isn't because we want to establish our reign of authority. It isn't because we want to engage in a battle with weak administrators or enabling parents. These situations bring us no joy (they do bring on sleepless nights and ulcers).

We teach because we believe in education and we love to find ways to make learning enjoyable. When we make a request, it isn't for our benefit. It is for the benefit of our students. We know that a student that disrupts class, doesn't listen, or doesn't complete assignments is headed for failure. We want to make our students successes. Not failures.

There I said it. Failure. Some people are afraid to say it, but we are all thinking it in some corner of our minds. We know that not every student will succeed. We know that some will fail. And, more than anything, we want to prevent that. We know that giving students power or enabling them will eventually lead to their failure. Empowerment and enabling will not make a child successful. It only slows down the inevitable.

Bringing respect back into the classroom will turn things around. Teachers will be free to establish reasonable perimeters and expectations and students will learn. Even those with learning or behavioral difficulties will have a level of success in a structured classroom.  Students will learn responsibility because it is  modeled and expected daily.   Students actually prefer a structured classroom over complete chaos.  They are more comfortable when they know what is expected and that they will receive assistance getting there. Nothing is scarier to a student than navigating uncharted waters without a guide.  I've heard it time and again- straight from the mouths of babes.

Giving teachers true authority (and not just lip service) would have another benefit.... content teachers  who flourish in a system that is no longer broken.



                                                           Take a peek at these resources! 

Newest resource........ - if you followed my store you would get email notices ;) -ELA non-fiction all about foxes!!! Interesting facts on task cards and printables to make review a snap!

Foxes ELA Review


An oldie, but a goodie! Fun superstitions and May Day practices. Perfect for May 1st!
May Day Superstitions and Facts





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2 comments

  1. As a high school English teacher with 20 years under my belt, I find the problem with respect is not an issue with a generation, rather, it is a problem with education itself.

    As you point out, teachers go into the profession wanting to promote student success, not failure. However, our grading system is all about pointing out the inadiquacies of student learning rather than celebrating the potential within.

    Many teachers protect the 100% by deducting spelling errors on essays that are insightful and well developed without the option of revising or redoing the assignment. Or we write tests with a route recall question or two asking about the minutia of a text so we do not have too many A's in our classes. And when we don't have enough, we offer extra-credit for bringing in tissue paper or doing some task assignment that is not aligned with our class/unit objectives. No wonder kids check out.

    School IS designed for failure. If it wasn't, an F would not be an option on a report card. But it is, because students are expected to fail.

    If a teacher wants respect he/she needs to create a culture of learning rather than achievement. Grades are an indicator of achievement. It is impossible to define learning and growth in a single letter (or number for those who use 1-4 SBG). We need a system in which all learners can succeed by implementing strategies such as UDL, PBL, and SBL. We need to stop giving compliance work and promote individualized learning opportunities that are meaningful. Until education respects the individual student, the student should not be expected to respect the educational system.

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  2. Thanks for discussing such serious problem that we're struggling everyday in schools. But be sure, there comes a day, when society will discover how much trouble and disaster, parents and government have caused without being aware. Their negative attitude towards teachers will, for certainty, destroy ethics and good rapport that should be between teachers and learners.

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