Compassion is a collective effort


Graphic by Stella Schwartzman

Sarah Morgan

Mutual respect is one of the most basic foundations for any healthy, productive relationship, and Wilson seems to be missing it. We as students have a knack for getting under teachers’ skin, and teachers have a knack for calling kids out in embarrassingly public corrective endeavors. Things like these create an environment that’s difficult to learn in. 

Wilson is like any high school—we have lots of different people in our midst, with unique life experiences and personalities. This can and has given way to misunderstandings and interactions that turn sour because we don’t understand each other or even want to try. That’s why we need to make the attempt, and to try to respect each other.

Yes, we’re kids. Yes, we shouldn’t have to bear the responsibility of maintaining the peace and order of our classrooms and halls. But we also shouldn’t be the reason they’re disorderly in the first place. Teachers don’t deserve to be treated badly because they’re just people trying to do their jobs and give us an education with whatever limited resources DCPS provides them. We need them in order to understand the basics of our society and achieve goals, such as pursuing higher education. It’s not fair of us to antagonize them or disrespect them because of whatever differences or misunderstandings we might have.

Teachers have lives as well, and it behooves us to recognize that. They aren’t mindless automatons, spewing information on a daily basis. Their problems are just as important as ours.

We also can’t forget that mutual respect is, as the name suggests, a two-way street. Students constantly being kind and understanding towards teachers is not how we can change the culture of blatant disrespect at Wilson, because as long as one party is receiving negativity the other will meet it with the same.

Ergo, this is a plea for teachers to also be more understanding. In an age where so many things can be affecting students, where laziness and lack of motivation could be covert depression, and lack of participation could be covert anxiety, I ask that you are patient and help us on our journey to adulthood rather than making it more arduous. 

If we disrespect you, it could be that we don’t have the tools to handle our emotions as we should, but it’s rarely out of the intent to hurt you. And if you disrespect us, it could be due to something similar. The difference is that our brains are still developing, and we’re learning how to be a functioning member of our society. You are supposed to be teaching us to do this. Help us understand that the jokes and distractions at your expense aren’t worth the short-term laughs we’ll receive and that our behavior will drive people away if we continue using others at our expense.