Students spend 35 hours per week at school interacting with fellow students and teachers for nearly 10 months. Keep in mind that these hours do not include the extracurricular activities, such as sports, jazz band, drama, and broadcast that many students are involved in. At the end of the day some students spend more time with their teachers trying to solve math equations than with their own parents. The staff at NS believes that it is important to provide a safe, healthy environment within the school in order to maintain students motivated and engaged.
Providing a safe, healthy environment within the school does not only impact students’ education, but it also impacts their school spirit and the respect they decide to give to their teachers. Many students may go through their four years of high school without noticing all of the small things that teachers do in attempt to gain their respect. These small things include the way they dress, the way they talk, and the form in which they present themselves at school. Some students may view their teachers as the big, scary monsters that assign them bundles of homework to prevent them from hanging out with their friends, but in reality, teachers are just trying to help students figure out and follow their path.
“You’re all learning to be adults, and I’m here to help and guide you through that,” FACS teacher, Auralee Brooks, said.
However, trying to guide students and treating them with respect is difficult when students lack motivation and respect. All teachers have a curriculum that must be taught by the end of the year, or semester, and both students and teachers’ competence is tested in either a Sage or State Skills test. It becomes more difficult for students to succeed and show their true competence when they fail to stay punctual and diligent.
“The hardest obstacle [when teaching students] is fitting everything in that the state requires,” said Brooks. “This becomes hard when they [students] aren’t responsible or get their work in on time.”
Many teachers fear that a compassionate extended amount of time on late-work will create the illusion in students’ minds that it’s okay for them not to be punctual or heed deadlines, so these teachers resort to strict late-work policies to intimidate students.
“Showing apathy to students who just don’t care can be hard,” Assistant Principal, Jeff Ericksen, said.
However, this doesn’t mean that teachers don’t respect students’ intense home situations, jobs, emotional issues, or lack of resources. Teachers still demonstrate their respect for their students by treating them as a person and showing compassion towards their situation.
“[As a teacher, it’s important to remember] that even though you’re teenagers, you’re still human beings,” Brooks said.
Some teachers believe that other teachers are too lenient with students. For example, when they allow students to address them by their first name. Many teachers believe that this act undermines the level of authority and respect teachers should have over students. Whereas other members of the staff such as Ericksen find it flattering.
“I think society is changing quite a bit,” said Ericksen. “I think that our society as a whole has become more in touch with each other.”
Before Ericksen became the Assistant Principal at NS he noticed that the majority of the students referred to Principal Nan Ault and former Assistant Principal O’Dee Hansen by their first name. Students referred to their superiors by their first name as an act of endearment.
“All of the students love Nan, they all love O’Dee,” said Ericksen, “and so now that I’ve been here for a year and a half, and I have all of the students calling me Jeff, I’m taking it as a decent sign that maybe they’re starting to love me, too.”
The student-teacher relationship at NS is considered to be strong. Not only do teachers help students, but students help teachers as well.
“You guys help keep me young,” said Brooks. “Hearing your conversations help me stay up to date in the world and with what’s hip.”