This I Believe

Jess - Manlius, New York
Entered on December 20, 2006

Everyone has a right to believe in what they choose. Not everyone chooses the correct way to express their beliefs. This isn’t always a problem but, in some cases it can be a major issue when dealing with respect. Sometimes there is a lack of it when someone feels they have the right to express their belief without worrying or thinking about the effect on other people. It’s not always the general expression but the time it’s chosen to be expressed and how. When there is a lack of respect, it affects not just the person or people it’s directed at, but everyone around them. It occurs almost everywhere, sometimes unintentionally but frequently. In schools, I feel it’s one of the worst problems. Last year in 9th grade, I was in a math class with an easy going teacher. He’s a great guy and was a great teacher. He didn’t deserve the disrespect he received throughout the year from the majority of the class. Even one of my closest friends in that class disrespected him. Everyone talked over him. They didn’t listen to him, they insulted his teaching ethics if they didn’t get the logic and they were rude in response. I didn’t understand it and I don’t think he did either. He didn’t say anything that would show it affected him, but I could tell that it did. That shouldn’t happen. He was never mean during the year to anyone and I felt so bad for him that I went out of my way to be nice to him which rarely happens. It affected me and I wasn’t even a victim, but a witness.

Sometimes it happens unintentionally, or so it seems. In certain classrooms, there’s always that one student who doesn’t keep his/her opinions to themselves. They feel they can shout anything they want out at anytime and that everyone cares what they have to say. The amazing part is that they talk back when reprimanded for it. If you’re going to be rude and disrespectful and feel the world revolves around you during a school conversation, then you ought to be in trouble for it. It not only affects the children who are listening to the discussion, but the person who teachers the lesson as well. They do not want to be interrupted and the students, if interested, don’t want to have the discussion interrupted by some ridiculous comment that doesn’t pertain to them. It’s disrespectful and it makes me empathetic towards the few who are affected but mostly for the teacher. I feel that people should be less disrespectful and keep their comments to themselves unless called upon or unless it submits to the lesson/discussion. Even then. The person should be called on if they want to talk. It doesn’t matter who the person is, everyone is of equal importance and no one person should feel they have the right to disrespect everyone because their belief or opinion matters more. I am writing this because I’ve seen it happen and am fully aware of its effect. It angers me and sometimes even makes me feel bad. No one should go through what my teacher last year had to go through all year. It’s both unfair and uncalled for. It’s also time consuming. If the one student feels they have to talk and share their belief/opinion/story with the class then, chances are, the other students won’t get to contribute even if they have something important to say. It’s a tough concept to accept for the select few who know they’re responsible for this occurrence in some cases but, if you feel you’re important enough to talk without requesting permission, being disrespectful or not waiting until a good time to talk, you aren’t much better than anyone else. Everyone deserves to be respected. This I believe.