Should Schools Teach Etiquette? – Would you agree with your child’s school if the school taught proper etiquette to kids? Should schools teach etiquette?
I remember an old article about an Arizona public high school who felt strongly about incorporating etiquette lessons in the classroom, e.g. learning to open doors for girls, pull out chairs for their female classmates and stand when a girl enters a room. (NOTE – I wish I could link the article but was unable to find it).
The teacher said he was inspired to start demonstrating what he considers proper etiquette after witnessing the coarse behavior that some of the boys in his classes displayed toward the girls. As a result of the emphasis on politeness, the overall mood in the classroom has changed markedly.
The funny and odd part is that my husband and I disagree on the etiquette lessons being taught in school, and not in the way that you’d think. Would you agree with your child’s school if the school taught proper etiquette to kids? Should schools teach etiquette?
She Said Vs He Said – Should Schools Teach Etiquette?
She said – I would not feel comfortable, as a high school student, getting that kind of attention from my fellow male students. (Maybe it’s because my experience with the high school guys was more along the lines of hanging out with half tamed gorillas.) Plus, as a child, I was not raised to expect men to open my car door, or pull out my chair, etc. My mom is a very independent person who works hard and is very loving. I’m a lot like that. However, I wholeheartedly accept and expect that if someone goes through a doorway ahead of me, he or she holds the door open for me as well, rather than let it slam in my face. I also do the same for others (male or female) so I wouldn’t consider this to be proper etiquette, but rather common courtesy. Finally, I would feel quite uncomfortable fighting for women’s rights and independence (yes, I would like to make the same salary as a man who does the same job), and then declaring that we deserve special treatment. And don’t these proper etiquette gestures create more disruption rather than not? What an interruption (and not to mention quite embarrassing) for the entire class to stand up after a girl returns from the restroom. Are the boys trying to point out that they have been waiting for her to return, and what took her so long? I think I’d rather hold it and wait for the class to break.
He said – “Ladies first.” In a salute to proper etiquette, I’ve allowed my wife to make her point before I tell her she’s nuts. She’s not seeing the forest through the trees! I have no problem with this teacher. I’m not going to use my pulpit to become Grandpa Simpson and spin tales of yore of how things were “back in the day” or shake my fist and mumble “these darn kids nowadays.” If this teacher is just doing this because he fancies a day where we all return to powdered wigs and throwing jackets over mud puddles, I think he’s as crazy as my wife does. That said, I am a fan of these kids being exposed to etiquette and not from a high school dating standpoint. If these kids learn to hold a door open and say please and thank you upon meeting people, it will help them in real life job situations beyond 10th grade. As anyone can tell you, the job market is fiercely competitive and even the smartest kid out of college won’t make it past the front door of HR if they can’t interact properly or show common courtesy in an interview situation. If kids aren’t being taught even basic etiquette at home, this guy’s teachings may have more value than any high school Geometry class. I’m not saying teaching etiquette in high school should favor genders or be part of a core curriculum, but I wouldn’t mind if a JR High or High School Health Class or Home Ec class spent a chapter or piece of the semester teaching etiquette.
What do you think? Should schools teach etiquette in class?