Is it fair for teachers to be disrespectful to students in the name of attendance or internal marks?

8 min


The mere mention of the word ‘classroom’ is enough to fill us up with the good ol’ dose of nostalgia. All kinds of feelings come marching around. If you ask me, we have a love-hate relationship with them— the lectures we wanted to attend and the ones we bunked; avoiding the first bench but fighting for the last (that is where all the fun happened, so yes); drawing up caricatures of teachers in those seemingly long, never-ending boring lectures; or even a game of raja, mantri, chor, sipahi— we have all been there and done this, that and some more.

Yes, we have spent a considerable part of our life inside the classrooms.

When we transition into adulthood at 18 and move from school to college, our classrooms change with us. In college, the teachers, their teaching methods, their expectations from us, all of it changes.

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We get more independent. The environment inside the classroom is much more relaxed now. However, what doesn’t change is the decorum that has to be maintained inside the classrooms. I think all of us will agree here.

In college, we might not hear the famous “Is this a fish market?” speech to remind us about the need for decorum and discipline. Nevertheless, decorum is needed and we understand that.

The responsibility of maintaining such decorum falls on the shoulders of both, the students as well as the teachers. And this decorum is built on mutual respect between the students and the teachers.

Students are supposed to respect their teachers. Isn’t this what we are taught since childhood?

We have always been told to respect our elders, especially teachers. They are given a place next to God (Thank you, Kabir). They shape our characters, careers, and life. They help us become who we are. So, definitely, we have to respect them. But what about the times when the teachers are disrespectful to us, the students?

Respect is a two-way street. You give some, you get some. Though some teachers don’t realize this. It is unfortunate to say that there are times when teachers are disrespectful towards students. And this gives out a message that it is okay to be disrespectful.

In DU, attendance and internals carry 25 per cent marks. The teachers often use them as an excuse to lash out on students. Criticism, especially positive criticism is acceptable. It is for our own good and we know that, right? However, criticism bordering on insults and disrespect is another matter altogether.

The teachers also think that they won’t have to face students’ backlash on any matter since they hold power over them. The power of the 25 per cent. Oh but there is a backlash. It may be silent and sometimes even loud. But it is there.

Students start losing respect for the teacher who has been disrespectful to them. They go late to the class or even skip it altogether. In some cases where things escalate, the students even tend to forget their lessons from childhood and answer back.

The lines are crossed. They get rude, aggressive and equally disrespectful. Maybe even more. Basically, they would do anything that shows contempt to get back at the teacher. And then there goes the decorum right into the discarded pile.

Teachers disrespecting their students just because they can is sadistic behaviour. It sets the wrong kind of example. It goes on to show that it is okay to be disrespectful. Nothing good comes out of it.

It might have worked in schools when we were kids. It was not the right thing to do even then but there it could be tolerated on the account of us being children.

Though now in colleges, it doesn’t work like that anymore. We are all adults here and we deserve to be treated as such. Our teachers should understand this. It is unfair to treat students with disrespect even if it is in the name of attendance or internals.

The teacher-student relationship should be that of a mentor and the mentee, of a guide and the follower.

We have to work together and not against each other. Disrespecting students doesn’t serve any purpose. It brings negativity, contempt, and even more disrespect.

They are our teachers. They should not forget their part in our lives. They cannot and should not be unfair to students. They must not forget that a little respect goes a long way.

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