Saturday, January 29, 2005

Giving students respect

I couldn't resist replying to this bad advice from Dear Abby Jan 29, 2005

----DEAR ABBY: At my school, a period of time is dedicated to discussing world events. My teacher, "Mrs. Jones," has often shared her opinions about world events and our government with us. She has very strong opinions and usually gets upset when anyone disagrees with her. One day when she was talking, I told her I did not agree with her opinion and got detention for it. Personally, I don't think I deserved one.
I understand that I shouldn't be rude to teachers, but I believe that my comment was respectful. Was I out of line? -- UNCERTAIN IN FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J.

DEAR UNCERTAIN: If the comment was disruptive, it may have been. It would have been more diplomatic had you voiced your disagreement after the class was over.

And my reply:

Regarding Uncertain in Franklin Lakes, NJ who was given detention for expressing a respectful contrary opinion to her teacher. I think we and our teachers need to encourage our kids to be able to respectfully share their views, especially during a discussion period. Sounds to me that the teacher, not the student, is out of line and disruptive and should be offered additional professional training on working with students. The student should start with her counselor or the principal and, if she doesn't receive satisfaction, take it to the school board. Again, we need to encourage students to be involved in their system.- A Parent of Teens In Fairbanks Alaska