Well, the winter break is here and none to soon. Since the beginning of the semester I have two students curse at me and three who told me to "mind my own business" when I caught them in the halls talking on a cellphone. Except for one, the rest are not my students. However, even in my classroom I experience the culture of disrespect as the students try to test the limits of my tolerance. For example, I will check if the students did their "Do Now" and the usual suspects will have a variety of excuses why they didn't do it. They continue not to do it until I threaten to call a parent. Further, I always have a couple of students who will find any excuse to talk to each other, usually when my back is turned or if I'm working with another student. Even the best teachers are tested by these students.
Occassionaly a student is having a bad day and will act up or feel sickly and put his/her head down. Or the teacher is not in top form and some students get restless. However, when a student continues to violate classroom rules and only threats of suspension seem to work, this is usually due to the student's disrespect of the school rules. Many a time I hear the "N" word being tossed around in my class. Some of the males disrespect the females calling them sexual names or touching then inappropriately. Finally, quite a few females think it's cool to out curse the males and insult them when they see fit. Eventually, my students learn that I don't tolerate bad behavior, curse words, and disrespect in general. I simply tell my class that if you don't follow my rules you will be taking this course again during summer or night school. Consequences for their action.
While I can control the students in my classroom by clearly showing them the consequences of their disrespecting me (the student who cursed at me was suspended and was transferred to another class, this action sent a clear message to the students in my classes). These very same students revert back to the culture of disrespect in the hallways. Until the students learn to respect each other, its an uphill climb for the classroom teacher to combat the culture of disrespect. We can only try to be the role models that many parents won't or can't be and hope that we get through to some of them, one student at a time.