During class, how about students using manners and respect as much as their iPhone

Many of you know how much I love working with and motivating kids. I have spent the last nine years presenting my Student Success Project pro bono in schools, organizations, clubs, and teams and even in houses of worship. But, nothing has compared to the insight of the past few weeks of me being a substitute teacher.

For with everything we want our kids to learn to become successful, it seems that the most important factors for future success simply is not addressed and that is basic manners and respect.

I’m Beside Myself

I have simply been blown away by the complete lack of what seemingly is knowledge of basic manners and how to “be” in public. Do not waste your time giving me 100 different excuses and reasons why students just don’t get it, as they are just that.

I am not talking about over-the-top etiquette school type of things here, I’m talking about basic common sense behaviors that so many of these kids simply do not have in their already small skill set. And I’m talking about kids from all zip codes – public school, charter school, private school – it just doesn’t seem to matter.

It’s An Epidemic

The sense of entitlement and lack of responsibility is an epidemic. (I’m just talking about school here) I see it in the way they disrespect teachers to the way they leave the cafeteria a complete mess. And thanking cafeteria staff when handed their lunch – a thank you is not even in their universe.

Sadly enough, over the years after presenting my Student Success Project, I have had parents come up to me and say how it’s great that I present “old school values and character issues.” Unfortunately, therein lies the problem that raising kids with manners, respect and a real understanding of character is now considered old-school.

I have become so frustrated I have spent much of my class time trying to fill gaps that their parents clearly have not attended to.

And yes I know it’s not my job, but someone has to do it. If I had a $100 for every kid who says please or thank you to the real heroes (entire school staff) who run the school, I would be a poor man.

Huh, What Is Thank You?

One of the first questions I ask with an auditorium full of kids is – “when is the last time you thanked a teacher?” with the obvious response being “for what?” It’s offending to explain to students that teachers work around-the-clock to ensure their one-hour of learning is simply the best. I mean seriously, have you seen some of these classrooms that teachers prep for their kids? They’re works of art, time, effort, and caring.

So if manners and respect are not part of the fabric of our kids’ lives – let me try to explain this in a very callous way.

If they do not know the basic civilities and baseline manners there is no chance of them moving forward and being successful.

And I’m talking about college, getting a job, or any other interaction that necessitates presenting ones self in a respectful manner.

Please do not insult me by saying “kids will be kids,” I know. I have kids. Don’t blame lack of manners and respect on technology because we all know that phones and video games have destroyed interpersonal communication –duh.

Success or Failure is Now.

But what I hope you also know is that if you and your kids do not correct this immediately you will be forced to say no thank you to any form of success.

This column is by Ritchie Lucas, Founder of The Student Success Project and Think Factory Marketing. He can be reached at 305-788-4105 or via email at ritchie@thinkfactory.com and on Facebook and You Tube as The Student Success Project.

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