by Marcus Jackson on September 23, 2018


I grew up in an era where certain behaviors were not tolerated. Behaviors such as: interrupting adults while they were talking, rolling your eyes, smacking your teeth, not responding when an adult is speaking to you, making sarcastic comments while walking away, the use of profanity, and not responding yes ma’am/no ma’am, or responding, “what!” when your name is called by an adult or parent.

Unfortunately, many of these behaviors have become the norm, society accepts these behaviors now, and there’s very little intervening from adults to correct and inform children of this unacceptable behavior. Therefore, this burden has been placed on schools. This creates confusion as generations clash as students’ frustration and impulsivity are perceived as disrespectful behavior. In actuality it’s far from that as their reaction, response, and reception to redirection is new, uncomfortable, and feels as if they’re being attacked. I keep this in mind when dealing with what many refer to as “Difficult Children” and I’m always reminded of two questions a student asked me years ago – “Is it disrespectful if you haven’t been taught respect?” and “Is it a lack of home training if you don’t have a home?” After this encounter and questions, I approach disrespectful behavior as a teachable moment as opposed to always being punitive.