My kids say "Thank you." They say "Yes, please." They look a person in the eye when they're speaking.
My kids write thank you notes, for crying out loud.
I know. My kids are a throwback to the Stone Age.
I'm a high school teacher. As such, I shepherd up to 150 cherubs through my classroom doors every year. I've seen behavior that would make your hair curl. But the thing that really gets my knickers in a twist is behavior not becoming of a 16-year-old.
A constant refrain in Room 215?
"What would your parents say?" Or, "If your parents knew how you behaved at school, they'd be appalled, wouldn't they?"
I repeat this refrain, oh, conservatively, about 15 times a day. Sometimes 20. It's a ready-made response to a variety of catstrophes.
Say, for instance, a stream of sticky, caramel-colored beverage snaking across one of my classroom tables, the result of a kid who's knocked over a can of Coke and just walked away, afraid of "getting in trouble."
I call this the "spill & run" defense. Kid spills Coke. Kid fears rath of Mrs. Scribe. Kid leaves mess dribbling across table.
Or what about those who scribble on The Couch? Or somehow manage to get part of a PB&J stuck under the "S" key on one of the office computers, resulting in a serially repeating sssssssssssssssssssssss?
Or the ones who are serial interrupters?
I call this condition, "teacherus interruptus."
Mrs. Scribe: "So, I think once we get the pages done, the editors..."
Kid #1: "Who's going to the cafeteria? I'm starving!"
Kid #2: "I hear Mr. Counselor is going for burritos today..."
Mrs. Scribe: "...should probably..."
Kid #1: "Cool! Will you go down there with me? I really need to get my Chipotle on!"
But the thing that ticks me off the most is those who say neither "Please" nor "Thank You."
One of my daughters' friends is afflicted with this malady. We take her to the ballpark, paying for her dinner & her ticket. We drive her down to the stadium & back home again. She says "Goodbye" to us.
She spends the night at our house. I get up early to fetch donuts. She has a great time visiting our humble abode. We, in turn, enjoy her company. She leaves late in the morning, saying, "See ya!"
We love her. I love my students. I know all of these kids know better. I just don't know why the lesson doesn't always carry through to everyday life.
Remember Barney & Baby Bop's mantra?
"Please & thank you. They're called the magic words."