This year has been one of the worst for cafeteria and playground behavior at the elementary school where I work. Kids are rude, table manners are atrocious, and having to remind a fifth grader to say "thank you" to an adult after said adult had just done something above and beyond for the child had me scratching my head today (or maybe it was the first grade lice epidemic that is also going on but that's another story.) It makes me wonder if it's the socio-economic level of children that attend our school...parents not being able to spend quality time with their children and missing the boat about teaching them basic "please and thank you" and table manners or what does go on in homes of families anymore? Or is it that kids are used to seeing rude behavior practiced on TV shows or on video games (or the lack of common courtesy) and they copy what they see? And so not to put the blame on others (although as a mother I would have been appalled if any of my children had ever been disrespectful to teachers or left their school lunch tray, leftover food scattered on the table) maybe we as a staff haven't filled in the blanks enough for good social skills and behavior towards others at school or in the lunchroom? We do have an incentive behavior program that promotes kind, caring, attitudes...but obviously; that's not enough. For the next few weeks a colleague of mine and I will be visiting other schools during lunch/recess time to see if it's an epidemic or if there might be a "magic" potion that we can use to teach manners and social skills 101. What was it like when you were in school?