My mother teaches at a high school in central Texas. Last week, before classes started, the staff was told that they were the reason the students did not succeed. They were threatened with transfers and other measures if the students did not perform better on the statewide exams at the end of the year.
Today, as I sat I her classroom watching my barely over 5' mother try to compete for attention with 37 students larger than her, there was a sudden, loud commotion in the hall. With total disregard for what they should have been doing, the students rushed to the door. My mother yelled at them to get inside and sit down. She had to yell otherwise they never would have heard her over the commotion I nthe hall and the noise they were making concerning the commotion in the hall.
It turns out that a student had assaulted a teacher a few doors down. The students in my mothers class did not act surprised or appalled (two reactions I was definitely experiencing). They made jokes about the student, a girl, knowing that she was going to juvy. They laughed at the fact that she would hit a teacher who was "so old" (I am guessing he I around 50). After the incident had died down, it was business as usual. The students trying to talk over my mother, the class not listening to each other as they read aloud, the teenagers completely forgetting about what had happened I the hall.
I am not that old. It wasn't too long ago that I was in school. When I failed, I knew it was because I had not applied myself. When I was in trouble, I knew it was because I deserved to be. However at this particular school, the students have become accustomed to disrespect and blaming others. The notion has spread into the administration who also blames the teachers for the students failures. I would have to blame the students. We can say that they are a product of society and they learned these behaviors. But they don't have to be this way. Not all of them are. The saddest part... the good students become ignored because the bad students require so much attention just to prevent a major situation.