Sunday, 3 April 2011

Well, you would say that, wouldn't you,



all of you being bloggers. You and I could hardly say that blogging is a waste of time, could we?

Thank you, everybody, for your generous and intelligent comments to the previous post. I value your opinion;  all of you basically advised me to leave the class, seeing how I felt about it.







So why did I not do that earlier? Teacher several times made fun of me and my need for following the rules of grammar,  for wanting prepositions and tenses used correctly.  Ok, this may be slightly outlandish nowadays, but then 'outlandish' is exactly what I am, having learnt English as a foreign language, by rote and by rule, from an early age onwards.  She even called me a 'professional foreigner' once.

I think I stuck it out because of conditioning in childhood, which this particular teacher managed to tap into. (She also reminded me of my mother) I went to school at a time when children were expected to behave themselves, to respect their elders and betters, before the time when the freedom of individual expression became the magic formula, the great be-all-and-end-all of education. In my day the omniscience of teachers was not questioned, we did, mostly, as we were told. I believe that my discomfort in the creative writing class arose from the gulf between my upbringing and my distrust of the tuition, apart from teacher's inclination to become personal when she found her view challenged.

The days of blind obedience to those in authority are over, I am glad to say, but I still feel that many of us  have  discarded respect for others at the same time. Has the pendulum swung too far? I hear that there are schools where teachers fear children and some parents, where children are not only insolent but physically aggressive.

Are there still professions which demand the same automatic respect they once did? Doctors, the clergy, teachers, bank managers, the legal profession, politicians, for instance, do we still see them as people to look up to? Beloved and I belong to the class of rogues and vagabonds; however, when representatives of the previously mentioned professions sit round my dinner table I find they boil their breakfast egg in the same water and for as long as I do.

Automatic respect for the sake of one's calling, is it a thing of the past?

37 comments:

  1. Friko, I think automatic respect for the sake of one's calling went away with child abuse by clergy members. I personally believe that respect is earned, not demanded or simply expected. Today, it isn't safe for children to automatically respect and comply just because an adult is in the room.

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  2. friko - i teach so i'll tell you that the playing field is for the most part levelled. having said that, there are moments within minutes, minutes within hours and hours within days - even days within weeks - where the playing field tilts sharply in the direction of the students. the trick is not to react to the tilt but to level it in such a way as to not spill anyone or everybody off the relational seesaw! steven

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  3. school restrains the creativity of kids in favor of rote memorization of facts that give them pride for the elected authority and a work ethic to support its causes...just saying...smiles.

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  4. I should hope so. automatic respect and not earned respect? Now in this information age we know that all those whose professions demanded respect at one time are no better than the least of us. they are just as likely to be thieves and liars and abusers and manipulators, selfishly putting their own self-interest ahead of their clients, patients, constituents (and in some professions mentioned more so), as anyone else. their higher education allows them to be sneakier than the rest of us.

    it's sort of like the thug with a gun demanding respect. respect? hardly. fear of the weapon? most assuredly. but fear and respect are not the same thing.

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  5. This is a tough one, and worth more than a line or two in a comment box. Over here, it's pretty much expected that the students are in charge, parents run roughshod over teachers and that respect, as your first commenter said, will be earned. The reality is that respect is absent and an atmosphere of 'you're no better than I' prevails, universally. I don't think we're better off this way.

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  6. A very thoughtful couple of posts! Thank you Friko!

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  7. There can be an initial, presumed, respect based on the assumption that certain standards will be observed. Your own self-respect should lead you to evaluate for yourself, with an open mind, whether the person lives up to the criteria. In extreme cases, recognizing that a prick is a prick, is a healthy response. Then you can choose fight or flight responses.

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  8. I wonder if it might be useful to compare types of respect. I hear what marciamayo is saying, but Pondside is just as loud and clear. There is deep, earned respect that goes to trust. But well before that - indeed, in the very beginning - there is the base level of respect one shows toward people. We call it being polite. The erosion of polite behavior is very damaging to society. It's not only possible, but important to be polite to someone before you've had the chance to decide whether you want to trust them or not. It's about giving someone the benefit of the doubt, in terms of your manner toward them, not deciding beforehand (before you know more about him) that the priest is either a noble man or a child molester.

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  9. I , too , as a child , was expected to listen and follow unquestioningly , to show respect . But , with our new , more open society , ruled from the bottom up ( which I have a definite sympathy for ) , we've made new problems , and need to set new limits .
    Youngest daughter and a fellow pupil , an asthmatic , were sprayed with tear gas at school and ended up in hospital . Husband demanded to see the culprit and insisted , despite squawks from the school director , on taking him to the Emergency Department to let him see what he'd done . No threats , no shouting , just "Don't do this again" .
    And he never did .
    (The more , mind you , I hear about Teacher the more unpleasant she sounds and I don't think she deserves ANY respect !)
    Another professional foreigner .

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  10. Very, very difficult. I think teachers that are loved get respect - and teachers that do a good job get respect - pupils and students feel that. I will always remember the quote of a German film, "I am an elephant, Madam", where a young teacher 'tried to be like the pupils' - and in their minds you could read: "Weighed - and be found too light". So I think there should be education - with good manners (you see with the heart - I don't mean how to use fork and knife, though that's doesn't hurt, either), education to be thoughtful for others (elders or youngers), education to feel you are not the navel of the world, and the sense of gratitude. Then respect comes on its own, out of love, and not out of fear.

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  11. As Ellen says, respect should be earned, not automatically granted. But sometimes I think the pendulum has indeed swung too far, and that respect is vanishing, whether earned or not. Respect for one another's beliefs, individuality and dignity is one of the most important things in life. But to know what respect is all about you need empathy - which is learnt at a young age through interaction with real people, not through the prevailing, zeitgest interaction with technology.

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  12. Yes, I a sense we should have automatic respect for elders, persons in certain positions. HOWEVER!! If that person does not behave in ways that are in line with the respect, I think we must not be slaves to the arrogance or demands of others, especially as adults who have learned the "rules" of respect.

    When my children were very small, I treated them with respect. I addressed them with "Yes, ma'am/sir," I said "please," "thank you," "excuse me," and other niceties to them as well as to adults. Some of my friends ridiculed me for that, but now, both my adult children should respect when it is due, whether to adults or children. They also know how to discern when respect is not due.

    Your teacher was being a bully, in my opinion, and not deserving of your respect.

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  13. Hi Friko,who writes to her friends through her blog. You asked the question, so you get answers.
    Mine is that we should start with respect for everyone then watch to see if it is justified. Then not let our egos be offended by a different perspective. After all, we could be missing out on a new learning experience.

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  14. Ok -so on the subject of your previous post. I have tried several creative writing classes and in every one i have found that there are the same problems:

    Firstly - the person running it (as with many leisure classes) probably doesn't have a teaching qualification (although they may work in writing)

    Secondly - they very definately develop favourites in the class whose work they particularly focus on

    Thirdly - they can actually be quite negative about things they don't understand.

    I'd suggest trying to find some local writing groups who may be more willing to be open minded.

    I tend to think that respect has to be earned and is not automatic, regardless of who you are and what background you come from: but that you should start off by treating people the way you would want to be treated yourself (a kind of respect for people, if not for their skills)

    Dismissing blogging is like dismissing the writing of a diary, the only difference being that blogging is a more immediate response than say, the journals of Samuel Pepys

    But yes - we have all stuck out with courses out of politeness and the fear of missing something. Keep on blogging - there is no right or wrong way to be creative and anyone that says there is doesn't know what they;re talking about

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  15. I am reminded of a counselor I once went to, when faced with a serious illness (I'm fine now). From the first session, I felt undermined, rather than supported. It nonetheless took me six weeks to extricate myself (at a time when time was of the essence, too). What held me there was my struggle not to be thought of as a bad patient, as someone who couldn't "take her medicine," so to speak. I subsequently found a counselor from whom I obtained support that has stood me in good stead ever since.

    I try and remember that example whenever I find myself striving to be the good student, patient, whatever it might be, and to trust my own reaction when I feel I'm being treated inappropriately. In your case, it seems to me that this teacher failed on even the most basic level of reasonable human interaction and forfeited her right to have you as a student. You were right to leave.

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  16. Friko, you raise so many good points, I feel I will have to respond with a blog of my own. In the US, some children are as well behaved as they have ever been and others not. I think it has to do with breeding and socialization. It might seem odd, but the best behaved kids are still the ones who either immigrated from other places and/or have a regular spiritual life. That's my 2 cents and I know plenty of kids who are beloved by their teachers and neighbors (and grandmother) Dianne Schmidley

    PS My sister is the blonde second from the right in the front row, and I am immediately behind her in the checkered dress. Of course

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  17. Outlandish is more than fine by me Friko. I like you just as you are! But I also agree with you, that particularly in some schools and what have you, a bit of down to earth discipline would do the world of good!

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  18. I sometimes feel there might be different levels of respect. I first think of the mutual respect for each other which results in being polite, considerate, show good manners. All three seem to vanish from daily life more and more. At school I see this mainly practiced by the parents of the students and that starts with the drop off in the morning! It is absolutely sad to witness that rude behavior of people who should know better. I wish that there was just more consideration for each other. It doesn't cost much and can make someone's day.
    Respect out of fear is not acceptable for me. Respect out of consideration for each other is something I'd love to see on a daily basis.

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  19. I used to teach adults, and it was always interesting to see different people's reaction to a 'classroom' environment. Some hadn't been back in a classroom since childhood. It all depended on their experiences as to how they responded, and how quickly they relaxed.

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  20. Have you noticed the respectful responses to your post? Some of us refuse to toss in the towel to bad behavior and for that I'm grateful.

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  21. My mother insisted that I respect adults if for no other reason than they had lived long enough to be an adult! I rebelled, saying just being old did not warrant respect. I have learned since that if I approach anyone with respect, I am not often wasting that honor. I've learned, too, that self-respect allows me to respect others even if I decide later that they don't really act respectfully themselves.

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  22. Friko, like you, I was raised to extend a respectful approach to many folks, initially to my elders, and then to various professions.

    As I have gotten to be one who could be considered an elder, I've encountered, up close, so many folks in so many grand professions that I now think that old saying aobut how we all put our pants on one leg at a time does apply.

    Anyone in any station of life can be worthy of respect. It's the person, not the station, that now draws my respect. (Of course, that early childhood training still clings to me, and so I do still practice good manners.)

    xo

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  23. You must be a "people pleaser". I recently wrote a post concerning how crushed I get when someone tells me I'm wrong, what I'm doing is silly, or what I've created is ugly.

    My newest, latest goal is to have more faith in MY opinion than theirs.

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  24. I like that “professional foreigner” – I think I was born one. I have not been to school in a long time, but of all the schools I went to, I think I preferred my teachers in England – they were a lot friendlier than my French ones. I like Mark Kerstetter’s answer. I think politeness is very important in society – and we are all part of society unless we are studying by ourselves in Antarctica or such places. I think politeness is on the “endangered” list though in our “me, myself” world.

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  25. "The days of blind obedience to those in authority are over, I am glad to say, but I still feel that many of us have discarded respect for others at the same time. Has the pendulum swung too far?"

    you crystallize the zeitgeist....



    Spring Aloha from Waikiki


    Comfort Spiral

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  26. Is that your school picture? If so, where are you? I love those old school pictures. Someone I went to kindergarten with recently sent me one of our class.
    Love and Peace

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  27. Your posts are always pertinent, insightful and thought provoking. I think, in my case, respect is something I feel more for the individual rather than their profession ... and I just love the photo, which one is you? :o)

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  28. Like most people here I think I start any inter-action respecting an indidviual - how I am treated in return defines how I continue to behave.

    Your "teacher" had a lot to learn about social interaction!

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  29. Enough said by all...I have nothing to add.

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  30. Agreed with Tabor and everyone else.
    (by the way thank you for 'Hausfrau' - I should have picked that one up myself!! Too hasty by half;-))

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  31. Dear Friko - your post has generated even more material to explore! My morning coffee grows cold as I read & reread everything. My husband & I both grew up in a military background & he is also a veteran. Respect used to be automatic, never questioned. What a different world we live in now - one I don't really understand anymore...

    Off to get a fresh cup & continue to dwell on your words.

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  32. I've had some experience of being "respected" simply when I have been out and about in my clerical collar. I haven't worn it for 4/5 years now, and I have become one of the Little Grey Old Ladies brigade. That, in itself, means I don't always have to have the right opinion. That's a big relief in some ways. But I do think, like most of your commentators that respect for one another as human beings is essential. And for children, animals, creation and our universe.... Thanks for the thoughtful questions. You make us use our brains.

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  33. For all those asking, if you happen to look in again: I am in the second row down from the top, third one in from the right. The skinny, black-haired one with the middle parting.

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  34. This has been a wonderful discussion Friko. I am very encouraged and my spirits uplifted by hearing so many opinions with which I agree. Having been taught by nuns for 14 years, I have a strong background in respectful behavior; I daily decry its loss in modern society. I so miss dignity and what used to be common courtesy. They cost nothing and only reinforce one's case against those of any station in life who tread upon others in some way.

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  35. With regard to the last post, as a teacher myself I would lose respect for a teacher who started their lessons in such an unprofessional way.

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  36. Well done -- that 'teacher' has problems of her own and you can do better.

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