Teaching School Manners
It's Up To You!!



What has happened to school manners?


Do you ever wonder if chivalry is dead? I do! I go to various schools for a supply (substitute) teaching job or to evaluate my student teachers, and I often wonder, where did student manners go?

Inevitably, you are asked "Can I go to the washroom?". I say "Pardon" and the student repeats the question. Again I repeat "Pardon". They repeat it again but a little louder and then I repeat my response and then they repeat their question even louder. They don't get it.

I then say " You're missing the magic word" It finally dawns on them. "Oh yeah, please". After allowing them to go, I remind them of another magic word "thank you", and then I follow through with "your welcome".

I may have to go through that with one or two different students. However they do catch on and by the end of the day, everyone is using those "magic words".

Manners, don't just include words, it's an attitude, co-operation, being aware of other peoples' feelings.

How many times have you been speaking to a staff member or student and someone walks between you or rudely interrupts you when you're talking?

Have you counted how many time a student has held a door open for you, whether you're carrying something or not?

If a student drops an item on the floor (accidentally) such as a pencil or piece of paper, do they pick it up or just walk over it or on it? Or when asked to pick it up, is their response, "I didn't put it there - it wasn't me."?

When you bring your class to a school assembly, do you make sure they are paying attention and not talking when the presentation is on? Of course, you have to make sure you aren't talking either - always a role model.

When you are teaching or talking in front of the class, your students know to have "their eyes on you". It shows respect. However when a student is talking to you, you should show the same respect - eye contact and listen to them.

More times than not, when I am evaluating my student teachers, I do notice that they are writing something down or doing something else when a student is speaking to them (I don't mean during instructional time). The student then feels that what they are saying is not important enough to listen to and not worthy enough of your attention.

All these incidents that I have mentioned are part and parcel of school manners.

Whether it's a student who doesn't knock before entering your classroom and interrupting politely, or not using one of the "magic words - please, thank you, you're welcome, excuse me, may I", or not exhibiting respect for someone else's belongings.

Manners have to be taught from a very early age.

Perhaps manners and proper etiquette are not learned at home or the parents don't feel it's important. Then it's up to you as educators to teach school manners, continually reinforcing them and maintaining them in your classroom and throughout the school.

Create "politeness" charts, contests in the class and perhaps school wide. Have your students design posters of various school manners and place them all over the school. It will create a caring, warm and positive attitude and perhaps it will become contagious.

Can you see the benefits and advantages of teaching these school manners from kindergarten and having it paid forward through a student's teenage years and into adulthood?

Perhaps chivalry won't be dead after all. It starts with you as a teacher and human being!

"PLEASE and I THANK YOU"



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