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Does Your Child Respect Teachers?

An ancient sanksrit phrase goes, "Acharya devo bhavo" or "Treat your teacher as you would treat God." Of course, most children would scoff at this statement, and far from treating teachers as Gods, few children, and parents for that matter, give teachers the respect they deserve. 

Many teachers are in this profession for the love of learning, and for passing on this love to children. There are those teachers who love children, and who love being with children. Other teachers have a desire to do their bit to help shape the minds of the future, while others have a passionate liking for a particular subject, and by teaching and discussing it, they are further immersing themselves in their subject. Of course, there are some teachers who are in the profession solely for earning money, but this tends to be the exception rather than the norm. 

Your child's attitude reflects your own attitude towards teachers. So if you believe that teachers teach for the sole purpose of serving your child, your child will also feel the same, and will believe that he is doing the teacher a favour by sitting down to learn. True, some teachers, especially in school, will command the respect of all the students, while others will not, and will constantly be the butt of jokes and pranks. Kids will be kids, and often the milder teachers have to endure more than their share of shenanigans. 

While a few harmless pranks are not desirable but acceptable, certain lines should be drawn. 

Abuse should not be tolerated. Throwing a paper rocket in class is far different from hurling an abuse to the teacher. While even simple words like 'stupid' should never be directed at a teacher, children should make it a point not to abuse at all in front of teachers, even if the abuse is directed to another classmate. Lalitha Rumani, a professor of commerce at the Sydenham College in Mumbai, commutes by train and often travels back with students. She laments at the fact that many students have no respect for teachers, and don't curtail their language even though they know that a teacher is amidst them. While some children are respectful, most of them couldn't care less. "It simply goes to show what kind of families they come from," she states. 

At another incident that took place in Modern School in New Delhi, a teacher was ushering the students along a line. The teacher tapped a student on his back and told him to move along, when the student turned, glared at him, dusted his shirt as if it had been soiled by the teacher's hands, and said; "Don't touch me again. I'm warning you, my father is a lawyer," amidst hoots and cheers from his classmates. 

Is this the respect we are bringing up our children with? What would prompt a child to make a statement like that? Did the father give him direct or indirect permission to make such statements in the name of 'fighting for his rights'? 

In our keen desire to make our children more confident, we mistakenly urge them on to become aggressive and argumentative instead. We are happy if they have a dozen friends and are enjoying their time at school, which is fine. It doesn't really matter if your child is a class monitor or not. But a 'gang' leader? Is that what you want? 

If you sow the seeds of your child gaining popularity by rebelling against their teachers, they will grow up with inflated egos, believing that the world owes them a living. When they realise that they cannot always get what they want, they will pass the blame for their troubles on someone else. "I didn't get admission because the teacher is partial to Amit." "I didn't get the promotion because the boss is a @#$%!" "My wife left me because she is an uncompromising wench." And they will look at their more successful peers with envy, jealousy and hatred, and will grow up to be bitter individuals. 

Is this the future you want for your child? 

If you want your child to grow up to be confident, there are other ways of doing it. Confidence need not come with aggression, nor with rebellion and 'fighting' for your 'rights'. Let your child take a cue from his school head girl or head boy. Is she rude to teachers or to other students? No. Does he display a bad temper? No. However, isn't she still confident? Yes. Can he make a speech in front of the entire school without quaking in his boots? Perhaps. Does she have a strong respect for her teachers? Yes! 

Unless you instill a respect for teachers in your child, he will never develop a desire to learn. And when and if he does, it may be too late, and he will look back at the wasted years with regret. Don't let this happen to your child. Put him on the path to success at the outset, by simply teaching him to respect his teachers. 

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