According to a new Harris Poll, perceived levels of respect between these parties is down - dramatically so in many cases - in comparison to what Americans recall from their own K-12 experiences. While nearly four in five Americans (79%) believe students respected teachers when they were in school, that number has plummeted 48 points, with only 31% believing students respect teachers today. These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,250 adults surveyed online between November 13 and 18, 2013.
When thinking about school dynamics when they were K-12 students themselves, vast majorities of Americans recall respect existing between academic "stakeholders." Respect between teachers and parents during this time is perceived as having been especially strong, with 91% of Americans each believing that teachers respected parents, and that parents respected teachers.
So what has changed? Americans' outlook on these relationships today is far less rosy. U.S. adults are far less likely to believe these disparate groups respect one another, with perceptions of parental and student respect for teachers showing the steepest declines when compared to how Americans perceive these relationships from when they were in school themselves:
Also troubling is the disparity between teachers perceived respect for students and parents, in comparison to the relative lack of respect these groups are seen as showing in return. Americans are considerably more likely to say teachers respect parents (64%) than that parents respect teachers (49%). Turning to the student-teacher dynamic, Americans are twice as likely to say that teachers respect students (61%) than they are to say that students respect teachers (31%).
And the most influential teacher is…
Every awards season includes at least one celebrity thanking the teacher that influenced them most in their life. Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes and Adam Sandler (who can forget him thanking his kindergarten teacher on stage at the People's Choice Awards?) have all publicly recognized teachers that influenced them and pushed them to be successful.
The survey also asked Americans to think about teachers they may have had in the past, and to indicate during which school years they had the most influential teacher or teachers.
High school was the top response (47%), mentioned at a roughly 2-to-1 ratio over elementary school (23%). 16% of Americans pointed to middle school or junior high school (16%) and 14% said they experienced their most influential teacher or teachers in college.
Nearly one-fourth each pointed to the teacher or teachers being "Knowledgeable about their subject matter" (23%) and "Instilling self-confidence in me" (23%), while two in ten selected "Sense of humor" (20%).
Some factors varied along generational lines:
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