Students must be Deferential to Teachers

Every student should be deferential to every school teacher.

Irrespective of personalities; regardless of characteristics, there are no exceptions to this maxim. 

Polite and respectful are the characteristics of a deferential relationship and this is exactly how I want my children to treat their teachers. It’s what we all want for our children. 

There’s an argument that I could replace the word deferential with obedient. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise but at the moment I think the word obedient takes things unnecessarily far. I think the difference is that obedience is unthinking, uncritical compliance whereas deference confers a respect for students to think for themselves and perhaps disagree but still comply through respect for the teacher’s authority.

Substituting the idea of cooperation for deference is another argument. For me this unnecessarily and unhelpfully undermines the authority of the teacher. The result of a well managed classroom may look like cooperation but to get to that point it is almost certain that the desires of the students will have been suppressed in favour of the commands of the teacher.

Let’s not beat about the bush here, teachers have a responsibility to lead in a classroom, and this is for the benefit of all students. In my experience, disrespectful behaviour is still seen as acceptable by a large number of students and this is, to my mind, a disaster for everyone’s children. 

So what is a simple clear message that can suffuse the Education world? It’s deference. All students should be deferential to all school teachers. 


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