Basic respect for authority and discipline must first be taught in the home, primarily so that classroom teachers do not have to spend precious time trying to bring order to their classrooms. Any effective teaching professional will tell you that the last thing they want to be concerned with is unruly and disrespectful students. Justifiably, instructors want to focus on doing what they do best – teach. And so it follows that parents and other adult guardians must do their part to ensure that when the young people arrive at schoolhouses, they are ready to learn. The adults who impact the lives of school-aged youth must instill and teach values and morals that help young people to appreciate and respond appropriately to those in positions of authority as well as the disciplinary structure put forth by teachers and schools. The tone has to be set away from school and we cannot hold teaching professionals accountable for the academic failures of students who either don’t want to learn or don’t respect the rights of fellow students to learn and excel academically. The only way for schoolchildren to appreciate what teachers and educators are trying to do for them, is if they learn important values and the value of education, from someone in the home.
Much has been written about the challenges urban school districts face because so many good and great teachers refuse to teach in urban schools, due to the behavioral and social realities that characterize urban school environments. Even as some of the best teaching professionals choose to work in some of these tough settings, what they find most challenging and seemingly intractable are the routine disruptions and failures that occur when students don’t engage in classroom activities, don’t complete homework assignments, sleep in class, disturb other students, or talk back to teachers. All of these behaviors are mere symptoms that stem from young people not understanding what their responsibilities are as students and not realizing why they are actually in school. If they arrive at school respecting the authority of school officials, then there’s a better chance they can be taught in the classroom. And, if they respect the rules of conduct that apply to their time in schools, then they are more likely to be successful students. The buck begins and stops at home, away from the school building. Parents and other adults, not educators, are primarily responsible for teaching young people about basic respect, order, and discipline.