Respect: What Today’s World So Badly Needs

It’s my first time to write something like this but I can’t just help it. What urged me to do so was the recent news that reported about one Law student being shamed by her professor when she came to class wearing shorts.

Her professor reportedly made sexist remarks to the third year female student and asked her to “dress properly.”  The comments made by the professor were indeed uncalled for, over the top, and yes, sexist —  arrogantly putting into question the student’s credibility and character!

Couldn’t he have just waited after class to reprimand his student in private? It would’ve been more respectful of him to do so, and could’ve avoided needless hurt on his student and the rest of the class. He should have comported himself with decorum, in the first place, for it was his perceived “lack of decorum” of his student that he was being angry about, and because he is a professor who should be modeling proper behavior to his students – at all times and circumstances. His profession demands he conducts himself respectfully, politely and with dignity.

Granted he could not wait after his class – shouldn’t he have chosen his words more wisely? Why did he have to go out of the issue anyway — the matter of dress code in his class.

Just because he is male, and an esteemed professor, he perhaps thought he had every right to chastised his student in front of everybody. So he chose to do so, without much discernment, without much thought to his choice of words and act. And according to another report, the professor said in an interview, there was no written dress code for students in NLSIU’s rules currently but he has asked the university administration to issue clarifications about the dress code to the students, especially keeping in mind that “certain decorum” is expected from students attending lectures taken “especially by a senior faculty member”.

certain decorum” is expected from students attending lectures taken “especially by a senior faculty member” — Clearly, the professor’s ego got pricked at seeing his student in shorts. More so, as this happened in a culture that is predominantly conservative, traditional and where a machismo attitude still takes hold of many males. But he could have acted with grace by keeping quiet until the bell rang, and talk with the student in a nice way.

Yes, I feel for the female student – and young as she is, I can just imagine the pain, embarrassment and shame she had to endure. She and her classmates had every right to feel aggrieved and protest this uncivilised act of their professor’s public shaming.

Yet on the other hand — I also wonder about people’s sense of propriety nowadays, not just the young. But older ones too. It seems to me that the very idea of being proper – is no longer observed because what is given more importance today is one’s individual preferences, one’s own comfort, one’s own ways. Individualism is the rage!

Who cares about what others say? But to observe propriety or decorum is still called for because showing respect is never out of place and is never out of fashion. Proper behavior or decorum is still a must in a civilised society. We all should adhere to unspoken rules as well that we give consideration for others, as we would expect them to be considerate of us. Respect for others, for places, for people’s time — this is part of plain good manners and right conduct. Giving others due respect is also respecting ourselves.

Yet many people — men and women, young and old alike — do not think about this, as they think of only themselves and what makes them happy and comfortable.

How would you think if a guest attends your formal wedding rites or that of your offspring, in very casual outfit – slippers and shorts? Would you not also feel upset about that? Or  even inviting your friend to a sit-down dinner at your home – honestly, wouldn’t you have some sort of expectation as to how your friends will be attired, or even you, when you visit other homes?

I’m not blaming the young girl – what I am just saying is, perhaps she, just like so many others – no longer think twice about discomfiting others – with the way they behave and dress in public.

Thus – my point is – whether the professor was right or wrong on being upset with what his student wore to class – he shouldn’t have behaved the way he did. And for the young girl, unless her shorts were of knee-length, such attire in class is improper indeed.

What the world today needs more of is RESPECT – respect for oneself, for one another, for rules of propriety, for whatever it takes to make the world a better, civilized place to live in.

Young and old, all should observe proper decorum. Let’s remember, the world isn’t just about us. We live with others; thus, it shouldn’t always be “live and let live.”

 

UNITY in DIVERSITY – A Mantra for Teachers

A school of fish...one specie...different colors... I took this photo on an out-of-town trip south of Manila ~Marichu F. Jose

A common ailment in the teaching profession is professional jealousy, which exists as well without doubt in any field.  In fact, at some point in one’s career, one may have been guilty of this malady. Thus, one mantra teachers can invoke in order to avoid the pitfalls of petty jealousy, is UNITY in DIVERSITY.

Simply said, unity in diversity is that sense of belonging we teachers experience even though we are of different minds, perspectives, or teaching methodology. The differences in teaching approach, classroom management style, and individual personalities that we bring into our respective work domain contribute to a stronger sense of community, free from fear of rejection.

Unity in diversity means there is acceptance, collaboration, sincerity and RESPECT, most of all. Respect for others’ ideas, boundaries and space.

Respect

Have you ever encountered a colleague who often tries to negate almost every idea shared during brainstorming sessions, or one who refuses to collaborate unless she/he can make any demands from the team, or someone who seemingly asks for everyone’s consensus, yet she wants to have her way; everyone should follow her suggested activities?

Respect for others means being open to what others have to say; it also means you can agree to disagree amiably, without having to insist on your own opinion, without disdain for anyone else’s ideas. Being humble, in short.

Respect also means knowing your limits and boundaries, and that includes respecting your personal space — like not going over co- teachers’ files then deleting them from a shared computer without the courtesy of asking permission or letting them know about it. Believe me, there are such teachers who do this, and it makes them pathetic.

As a teacher, you show respect for others by not talking ill of anyone behind their back — be they your students, fellow teachers, superiors and other staff. In other words, behaving in a professional manner even if some people get into your nerves.

I notice mostly individuals who seem to lack self-respect are more inclined to exhibit signs of professional jealousy as well as act immaturely. Now, I lead you to these helpful articles that discuss professional jealousy: Dealing with the five causes of professional jealousy, and Innovative Teachers Hindered by the “Green-Eyed Monster.”

Unity in Diversity

Thus, to keep track of ourselves whenever we feel beset with negative attitudes and feeling is to focus on our main goal: helping our students the best we can.

It should be all about the students first — that is why we need to constantly upgrade our teaching skills and knowledge, so we can effectively lead our students to their learning goals. We need to make space for creativity and innovation. But it is just difficult to do so without collaboration and unity from our fellow teachers all because of jealousy – that nagging sense that you have to be the better one.

Diversity is a value that each of us teachers should inculcate in ourselves and in our students. Diversity is a value that aims to promote peaceful accord with everyone despite differences in thoughts, attitudes, cultural background, lifestyles, gender, race, among other variables. In an ideal situation in any context, diversity is seen to be working when each member accepts, tolerates and respects one another.

Unity in diversity – a mantra we teachers should invoke if we are to keep the pangs of jealousy at bay.