Questioning Authority Trend

pencilsAs an educator of 10 year olds, I have noticed a trend in recent years that is half good and half not. There seems to be a defiance of authority more than ever before of varying degrees. Of course with children, rules are often broken and then reviewed individually or with the class. This is normal but it seems many kids of today live to break the rules. Have parents forgotten the importance of teaching allegiance to teachers and schools? It sure seems that way. It may even be because parents themselves have lost trust in our system. I find that sad. I work everyday to prove myself worth of family trust. In my life, teachers were the most trusted people I knew, even more than the local news. So now that I know this exists, how can I handle it as a teacher. I have a hard time teaching kids to pay blind allegiance to anything, even the teacher. In this manner, you can see their questioning of authority as a positive. Unfortunately, they are too young to be doing this much. I guess that’s where I’d like to see more respect. Not blindly following a teacher’s rules but paying respect to the position of leader that the teacher holds in society. Follow rules, even when they may seem silly.

An example: when my class walks somewhere in a line, I have them all put their hands behind their backs. I do it because it choreographs them in a certain sense. It gets them flying in formation in at least that one small way. Other expectations follow suit but the hands behind the back is something I have chosen as my signature “Riley line” feature. This also keeps their hands to their selves which is an added bonus. Still, after weeks and months, some kids still refuse to do it without me telling them. When I remind them, they do it right away. This is the sort of questioning authority I am talking about. If my teacher asked me to do this in elementary school, I would do it without question. Maybe there is a little too much questioning of authority for our own good in elementary schools these days.


Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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