No-Rules School

In my day-to-day work I have found myself at some of the more elite private schools in the DC area and, in working with the students, have found that one trend among private schools nowadays is to have few rules and to allow the kids to call the teachers by their first names.

Okay – the name thing could be cool and can really help establish a great rapport between students and teachers. This could be really powerful if the teachers kept their spots as authority figures but more often than not what I see is a buddy-buddy relationship. These are the same schools that allow the students to more or less do what they want and go to class or not, depending on their moods and how they feel at the moment. And the kids pretty much run wild, show little respect or even good manners to outsiders like me who are there to do a service for them. It looks more like indoor recess than like classtime.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs
I don’t expect much respect and usually I am not disappointed. I just don’t want high school kids to whine about stupid things when I don’t let them get away with the nonsense that the school puts up with. And I don’t want a power struggle over silly things such as how to pose for a picture and whether they can stick out their tongues. A few were taken aback when I told them that for high school seniors they were pretty embarrassing because they were acting like ninth graders. Apparently nobody takes them to task about their immature behavior.

Is it a generational thing? Am I finally old enough to complain about kids nowadays? I have worked with other kids the same age and would rather deal with the gang members and youth offenders from the GED classes I taught than these spoiled kids who have no sense of personal restraint or discipline.

Is that really school? Is this lack of boundaries really good for young people? Is this helping them prepare for life after high school, when you are expected to show up to class or work regardless of where your emotional barometer is reading at that moment?

It strikes me as ultimately negative to not hold young people accountable for their actions. Am I missing something here? I don’t get why people would want their kids in consequence-free rules-free environments as a supposed preparation for whatever lies ahead.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

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