Cause of Teacher Shortage: Disrespectful Students


Respect for teacher’s authority drops in the US: A cause for teacher shortage that’s ignored

In 2018, schools began to adopt a 4-day school week to combat teacher shortage. The leading cause for the shrinking labor pool appears to be low wages. However, the increasing number of disrespectful students is perhaps the most significant contributor to the teacher shortage.

Perception of teacher disrespect drops

In a pioneering Harris Poll survey, 2,250 adult parents and teachers compared their recollections of “students’ respect for teachers.”

The result indicated a sharp decline, plummeting from 79% to 31%. In other words, parents and teachers believe about 70% of students are disrespectful towards them. [USA Today]

After the pandemic lockdown in 2020, a third of educators said students have been misbehaving “a lot more.” [EdW 2023]

In 2022, student behavior has become out of control, according to recent data:

  • Classroom disruptions from student misconduct (56%)
  • Acts of disrespect toward teachers and staff (48%)
  • Rowdiness outside of the classroom (49%)

Teaching may be a career, but it is, for the most part, a passion. Recent data shows that respect for teachers has dropped significantly, so it is no wonder teaching has become less rewarding.

Unfortunately, the school education system has evolved from removing conservative values to embracing the non-academic-based LGBTQ curriculum and Critical Race Theory—even punishing teachers if they do not comply with a particular woke agenda.

“Low morale is not the fault of individual teachers—but the organization” [EAB]

The most common reasons teachers are quitting

  1. Incompetent Leadership:
    • Some administrators fail to support teachers because of a complicated system.
    • Stories of administrators failing to manage classrooms and make critical decisions.
    • Experienced educators are becoming disillusioned with leadership within the education system.
  2. Disconnect and wrong focus:
    • Disconnect between educational research (favoring real-world projects) and traditional teaching methods.
    • The system seems more focused on maintaining the status quo than improving education.
  3. Mental Health of Students and Educators:
    • Teachers often bear the emotional burden of their students’ well-being.
    • Overwhelming workload, grading, and administrative tasks affect teachers’ mental health.
    • Teachers struggle to balance their commitment to students with self-care.
  4. Student Behavior:
    • As more rights are given, more students feel privileged.
    • The culture of undisciplined children has become a societal problem.
    • The epidemic of lazy students is causing tension in class.

School administrators should model respect and discipline

An immigrant assistant and substitute teacher in Glenbard District in Illinois observed that behavior patterns depend on the environment, regardless of stimuli.

He worked in several schools, but in one district with four facilities, Glenbard West, South, and East, more teachers exercised discipline. This was in contrast to Glenbard North, where he witnessed “bad modeling” from school administrators—deans and a principal with racial and implicit bias.

The point is that classroom discipline translates to better academic discipline, and it begins at the top of the chain.


Teachers are leaving in a record number

In 2023, CBS Texas interviewed six teachers from various backgrounds to learn why teachers are leaving the profession.

The teachers said that, aside from low pay, their lack of fundamental respect for the profession is why they are leaving in record numbers.

They don’t feel valued or supported, and in some cases, they do not feel safe. There have always been disrespectful kids, but it’s gotten worse after the pandemic.

Between 2020 and 2022 alone, over 300,000 public school teachers and education-related staff resigned, marking an unprecedented exodus from the education sector. A record number that had never been seen before. [Wall Street]

Crisis Intervention Training

The culture of open disrespect and violence has been steadily increasing that programs, such as CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute), “Nonviolent Crisis Intervention,” for school safety.

According to its manual in 2023, “The purpose of this program is to build on your knowledge and skills to recognize, prevent, and manage crisis behaviors using person-centered and trauma-informed responses.

In other words, the teachers not only have to be “talk therapists” but also learn to defend and intervene in crisis.

Poverty is often blamed for a lack of discipline

Poverty and parental absence are correlated to student misbehavior. They are often the convenient excuse for America’s declining academic scores and values.

Literacy rapidly declined among American adults—even before the COVID lockdown. At the same time, mainstream media blames the pandemic and poverty.

Similar data is evident among Asians, yet they now exceed American Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics regarding academic excellence and household income.

The bottom line is that current efforts, such as shorter days and more student accommodations, do not address the root cause of disrespectful students—especially among high school students.

current efforts do not address the root cause of disrespectful students.


The “Asian Immigrant” model

Respect for authority is a societal issue in America, where more young people disrespect authority, but in Asia, respect still permeates every sector of society. For example, students refer to their teachers as sir, ma’am, or equivalent expressions to define hierarchies.

Observing the boundaries of hierarchy is also cultural. In Asian schools, the methodology is mostly teacher-centered, and rules are absolute.

Students also have fewer rights and privileges, in stark contrast to public schools in the United States, where it is student-centered.

Filial piety is highly regarded, and common decency, such as dressing appropriately inside the school and hygiene, is innate in most Asian cultures.

The opposite is true in the United States, where freedom and individuality are central.

Values and respect should be part of the curriculum in Asia

Values and respect are continuously taught as part of the curriculum from elementary to college—uncommon in American public high schools and considered unnecessary in college.

For example, young Japanese students clean the classroom and toilet. Sharing and serving one another is incorporated into its preparatory curriculum.

Other Asian countries have similar programs. In the Philippines, GMRC (Good Moral Right Conduct) is a class subject that enforces these values.

Ultimately, there is a deep connection between respect and religious faith, where a person knows that his accountability is before his maker. Hence, restoring “true religious practice” is essential.

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