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Old 02-21-2010, 11:35 AM   #1
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Teaching Proper Etiquette In Arizona School

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In addition to the three R's, boys at one Arizona public high school have spent the past year learning to open doors for girls, pull out chairs for their female classmates and stand when a girl enters a room.

Incorporating etiquette lessons into the classroom was the brainchild of Cord Ivanyi, a Latin teacher at Gilbert Classical Academy, a public college prep school 30 miles east of Phoenix.

"I teach old-fashioned subjects," Ivanyi told AOL News, "so I don't think I'm doing anyone a disservice by promoting old-fashioned traditions."

A teacher for 14 years, Ivanyi 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.

"Boys treat girls pretty roughly," he said. "And there was so much disruption, so I decided to do something about it."

The informal lessons began with Ivanyi standing up one day after a girl in the class had left the room to go to the bathroom. As she returned, Ivanyi held open the door for her.

"She had this funny look on her face," Ivanyi recalled. "And the other kids giggled a little."

Soon, however, Ivanyi was schooling the 10th-grade boys on how to seat their female counterparts at their desks, by pulling out their chair and sliding it underneath them as they sat. As a show of respect, the boys were encouraged to stand any time a girl entered the room.

Behavior that was once utterly foreign has become routine. "Ninety-eight percent of the boys stand now when a girl enters the room, and the girls love it," Ivanyi said.

As a result of the emphasis on politeness, the overall mood in the classroom has changed markedly.

"There's a different tenor in the class, a gravity attached to the girls. They've been more feminized in the boys' eyes," Ivanyi said. "These girls are reading Jane Austen novels in class. For them, chivalry hasn't gone out of style."

Melissa Leonard, an etiquette instructor in New York for the past 13 years, applauds Ivanyi's efforts. "I think it's great if it's practical etiquette instead of the white-glove, snobby kind."

Leonard argues that learning proper manners helps kids navigate a variety of social situations. Sadly, too few have an understanding of the basics.

"There are some fundamental rules that are important for kids to learn, like looking someone in the eye when talking to them," Leonard said. "And there can be a role for the school to play, especially if etiquette isn't being taught at home."

But is teaching gender-specific etiquette perpetuating what some consider sexist traditions?

Gilbert Classical Principal Brian Rosta stresses that the emphasis Ivanyi places on social graces is not an official part of the school's curriculum.

Rosta has no plans to expand the politeness training, but he is a firm believer that schools can play a vital role in teaching manners.

"We often use the Latin phrase in loco parentis, 'in place of parents,' and sometimes we find that we need to fill the gaps that parents miss," Rosta said. "If there are any life skills our teachers can help with, I encourage that."

What's more, the parents of the students in Ivanyi's class don't seem to mind, either.

"The only negative thing I've heard are parents calling to make sure that their daughters say 'thank you' to the boys," Rosta said.
Arizona Teacher Adds Etiquette to Lessons - AOL News

I'm not sure I would like to be treated like this. On a date, definitely, but on daily basis? No, because I am not a damsel in distress. Yes, I would like to be treated with respect by the male species, but not to the point where I cannot do things by myself.

Also, once these boys graduate from the school and go to college, will they continue being gentlemen to girls? Personally, I doubt it because peer pressure will get the worst of them.

Thoughts anyone?
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:51 AM   #2
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I think this is just plain silly and highly impractical. If I had to stand up, open doors and pull out chairs at uni or at the office, I wouldn't get any work done. Nice gestures for dates or special occasions but not something men should do on a daily basis. After all, women are not handicapped and us men are not servants. Besides, I don’t think I know any women who’d appreciate this on a daily basis.

I get the feeling this is one of those situations where people use nostalgia as a basis for education/legislation,
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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Anything that combats narcissism is great in my books. Men and women look at each other as direct competitors in the modern world and that does coarsen relations between the two. As long as it's not snobby or insulting to women I'm okay with it.

This is an important quote:

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"There's a different tenor in the class, a gravity attached to the girls. They've been more feminized in the boys' eyes," Ivanyi said.
I think that women can be strong and feminine at the same time but I often notice that many women don't want to be feminine and often act like guys as overcompensation in the workplace. This sends a signal that they should be treated the same as other guys.

Now of course I hate sexual harrassment and denigrating comments that belittle them so it has to be a true respect. I think our lack of manners and respect is turning our kids into little tribal gangsters. Every generation has to be introduced to civilization.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:50 PM   #4
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I think that women can be strong and feminine at the same time but I often notice that many women don't want to be feminine and often act like guys as overcompensation in the workplace.
You're just full of observations.

What is a "feminine" way to be in the workplace?
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:29 PM   #5
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This is borderline mentally insane.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:51 PM   #6
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I think this is just plain silly and highly impractical. If I had to stand up, open doors and pull out chairs at uni or at the office, I wouldn't get any work done. Nice gestures for dates or special occasions but not something men should do on a daily basis. After all, women are not handicapped and us men are not servants. Besides, I don’t think I know any women who’d appreciate this on a daily basis.

I get the feeling this is one of those situations where people use nostalgia as a basis for education/legislation,
Agreed. I wouldn't want to be treated this way at all. Sure it's nice on a date or special event, but every day? What about men and women being equal?

Respect is good but, as with everything, don't over do it.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:54 PM   #7
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I think a lot of people these days could use lessons in basic manners, courtesy, and respect for others. But this is carrying it too far.
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Old 02-21-2010, 02:53 PM   #8
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You're just full of observations.
Nice observation.

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What is a "feminine" way to be in the workplace?
The feminine way would be to act natural without forcing exagerrated masculine tendencies. I'm not saying they have to have exagerrated female tendencies either. The more natural and relaxed (for both men and women) is better.

Overcompensation? Trying to act cold and tough? Having a chip on your shoulder for being a woman? I've seen it before and mixed with political self-interest in the office can be a minefield for men.

In fact in my last job interview the male boss asked me how I deal with women. Since I've worked in offices with prodominently women before I had the right answers. I find that women expect you to protect their feelings more than men and if you don't learn that lesson you can get fired fast as a chartered accountant found out when I replaced him. He was treating women rough like he did with men and got fired. My female head-hunter talked to me about it and explained how many men don't know how to be around women.

Men and women are different and understanding that makes it a better workplace. I find that if I joke around women like around guys I don't get as much laughter and they can take flippant remarks about making fun of a chick flick seriously. Feminism often can confuse men because they don't want to appear chauvanistic but can't treat women like men because they often don't have the same humor and get offended by things that other men wouldn't. I've even had women admit to me that women are emotional than men. I've had bosses admonish me "women are more emotional and sensitive" and that I have to "be careful what you say".

At some point you learn like I did that you must learn from your observations for more accuracy. I've even had a single mother hit on me in the lunch room and talk about her kids in desperation. It's a workplace for christ sakes! I've had a supervisor try and treat me like her son and compare me to her son in an envious disparaging way. The office workplace can be like a lunatic asylum. Thanks to Buddhism I'm able navagate through it better than in the past because I already expect weird narcissistic mental projections where people look at you via their impressions and they often put you in a mental box. Of course you have to be careful to the point of looking at individual men & individual women and learn what their individual scruples are. It's not putting people into types but being aware of tendencies so you can make communication smoother.

Business relationships are full of misunderstandings and the art is to communicate in such a way that no misunderstadings are created or can be construed as such for political gain. For example I was even being nice to a coworker because we have a rapport due to both of us having been in brutal CA work environments and another woman (niece of the partner uh oh) said I was sucking up to her when I was just being normal and related to her experiences. Even when you are doing your best those fucking mental projections come back and people will view you in their own way no matter what. Now I have to be aware of the niece of the partner and what I talk to her about. Does she expect special treatment? Does she use her connections to bully staff? Does she inform on you to her uncle? To me learning social skills in grade 10 is not early enough. The school playground simply gets transferred to the workplace.

I still have learning to do. People often talk about songs they like on the radio and I erroneously mentioned a U2 song Stuck in a moment and the office was quiet and no response for a few seconds. Then a woman said "that song puts me to sleep. Sorry no offense." Then another guy continued on "yeah I don't like much of what they do." I had to remind myself that my mental projections of liking U2 songs is not a projection shared by all people. Now I'm "the guy who likes crappy U2 songs." Some days are better than others.

I mean I can keep going. In a CA firm I worked at before the female partner joked to another woman about me "yeah I hired him for his looks" and the other woman said "I was wondering why you were hiring such a hot guy". That was my first brush with what some women have gone through forever. I even had a sexy redhead bend over and write something down on a desk and I stupidly looked and she looked back at me with a longing look and I turned away "oops". BTW she had a large beefy boyfriend. I've seen all kinds of shit. I've actually had another single mother hit on me and ask me on a date when she discovered I wasn't married. It was totally inappropriate since I was supposed to train her.

I had the boss who admonished me on "sensitive women" that hired a sexy German temp worker for him to look at (he would openly stare at her ass!) and she would look longingly at me and stare at me. I ignored her and she ended up dating another co-worker. What a relief! I just want to go to work and go home and date outside the workplace. I'm not interested in David Letterman scenarios.

Hell I think we shouldn't just be teaching etiquette in high school but hardcore psychology considering the kind of trapdoors these students will face when they go to work. If more people have old fashioned manners I'm okay with it because I'll at least know what to expect. So I hope you understand my meaning. Men often don't know how to react around women and any help is appreciated because they get mixed signals and are taught conflicting opinions.
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:05 PM   #9
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I don't even know how to respond to all of that.
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:24 PM   #10
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I don't even know how to respond to all of that.
I think that a lot of youth have very little self-discipline in schools and the media, plus peer-pressure send mixed signals so you get more conflicts than necessary precisely because boys and girls don't know how to act around each other.

I listed a whole bunch of examples of people behaving badly (male or female) proving that people in adulthood already need a lot of help.

If a teacher in grade 10 feels that there is a lack of respect for girls in his classroom it's welcome that he teach some formal manners. Maybe holding chairs and standing up when women arrive is too formal but something is better than nothing.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:00 PM   #11
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I am a female and I work with *all* men. My boss is a man, my uber-boss is a man, my co-workers are men. Some of them are total prudes and the wimpiest people I know, some of them are more rough-and-tumble and I tend to get along better with the latter, NOT because I am "overcompensating" but because I'm just not a prude regardless of whether I'm in the company of men or women. I swear like a sailor, I like war and action movies, I'd rather listen to a dirty joke than a synopsis of someone's recent experience at a Bible retreat. In some ways I'm "feminine" - I like to shop for clothes, I care about how I look, I like to wear make-up, I drink margaritas not beer. My bosses or co-workers have never caused any problems because of my gender. The only problems I've had are every once in a while when I'm in the call center queue and answer a call, some jackass guy will demand to "speak with a technician", assuming that I am just the receptionist (except I'm not a receptionist and never have been, thank you very much). I actually love working with men. Besides the prudish wimps that annoy me, in general I find men far less catty and backstabbing, there is no drama in our office, we just get shit done.

As far as manners, that's the responsibility of parents. As a woman, I hold doors for people all the time - men, women, and children, I don't care you hold the door for the person behind you, or if someone has their arms full you wait or run ahead and help them out. As far as pulling seats out....the only experience I have with that are my co-workers doing it to each other as a joke.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:14 PM   #12
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I don't even know how to respond to all of that.
Me neither. That was a lot to digest.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:18 PM   #13
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I think that a lot of youth have very little self-discipline in schools and the media, plus peer-pressure send mixed signals so you get more conflicts than necessary precisely because boys and girls don't know how to act around each other.

I listed a whole bunch of examples of people behaving badly (male or female) proving that people in adulthood already need a lot of help.

If a teacher in grade 10 feels that there is a lack of respect for girls in his classroom it's welcome that he teach some formal manners. Maybe holding chairs and standing up when women arrive is too formal but something is better than nothing.
And I think this whole "our youth have no manners" panic that consistently appears is nothing more than people getting out of touch as they get older.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:19 PM   #14
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I am a female and I work with *all* men. My boss is a man, my uber-boss is a man, my co-workers are men. Some of them are total prudes and the wimpiest people I know, some of them are more rough-and-tumble and I tend to get along better with the latter, NOT because I am "overcompensating" but because I'm just not a prude regardless of whether I'm in the company of men or women. I swear like a sailor, I like war and action movies, I'd rather listen to a dirty joke than a synopsis of someone's recent experience at a Bible retreat. In some ways I'm "feminine" - I like to shop for clothes, I care about how I look, I like to wear make-up, I drink margaritas not beer. My bosses or co-workers have never caused any problems because of my gender. The only problems I've had are every once in a while when I'm in the call center queue and answer a call, some jackass guy will demand to "speak with a technician", assuming that I am just the receptionist (except I'm not a receptionist and never have been, thank you very much). I actually love working with men. Besides the prudish wimps that annoy me, in general I find men far less catty and backstabbing, there is no drama in our office, we just get shit done.

As far as manners, that's the responsibility of parents. As a woman, I hold doors for people all the time - men, women, and children, I don't care you hold the door for the person behind you, or if someone has their arms full you wait or run ahead and help them out. As far as pulling seats out....the only experience I have with that are my co-workers doing it to each other as a joke.
That's great you found a place right for you, but in some of the places I've been your actions wouldn't be liked by males or females simply because the environment is different. Some environments are politically correct and psychotic and others can joke all they want. I also hold doors for people behind me regardless of who they are and I also like to give room for people to enter my lane when there's lots of traffic. Unfortunately not all parents teach the golden rule to their kids or certainly don't model it so school ends up being a repository for those who didn't have parents or there weren't any good role models. It's obvious even from these posts that there is such a variety of cultures of conduct.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:26 PM   #15
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And I think this whole "our youth have no manners" panic that consistently appears is nothing more than people getting out of touch as they get older.
I thought this would come up. There maybe some truth in that but if you look at crime statistics and if you look at how people dress and act I still think there has been a coarsening of the culture that for some is very observable. My entire life so far has included witnessing bad behaviour so it unfortunately seems expected and normal, but the way that children are getting sexualized sooner (even high heel shoes for babies) is a concern. Not everyone has bad behaviour and we don't have to go back to the '50s but I like being courteous to people in traffic and having the same done to me and I think everyone would like to see that more often.

Though I thought it was funny when one wife of a teacher told me that he said "grade 8 was the armpit of humanity". I know because I remember.
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