Civility rules! Top table-manners

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Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m a life skills and English teacher at a public school.

My parents taught us manners. I’m thankful because everyone noticed and called me “Ms. Manners.”

I teach table manners, but parents complained that it wasn’t my job to “waste” their tax dollars teaching that.

We eat the food we make in my classes and clubs. It startled me that kids grabbed food, chewed with their mouths open, and don’t say “please” or “thank you.”

I’m the weird monster trying to help teens be polite. Manners used to be the norm.


Weird Teacher

Dear Teacher,

You certainly resonate with our 5Cs: Civility, Courage, Confidence, Creativity, and Communication. We teach kids how to define themselves so they may feel a sense of worth.

Our motto is Civility Ends Bullying.

Good manners help create a civil culture. Civility (to be caring, considerate, and courteous) shows respect for others. Many preach respect, but don’t always define it.

Your Courage may help your principal to allow a presentation about the value of manners in our culture, starting with table manners.

The whys of having table manners:

  1. Basic table manners are important because they ensure comfortable relationships.
  2. Donna Jones, author of “Taming Your Family Zoo: Six Weeks to Raising a Well-Mannered Child,” said we need to teach kids under age three or we’ll have to unteach bad behavior later on.
  3. With manners, there’s an expectation to focus on others. Without them, our society may place too much emphasis on individual “rights,” which may increase aggression. Our current norm has become a more demanding society. With more rights, come more responsibilities. We think healthy and loving relationships can be achieved better with more civility.

Top ten table manners (Maybe you can post this in your cafeteria):

  1. Sit and stand tall and straight
  2. Be attentive to all and their needs
  3. Speak pleasantly – no gossip, foul language, and no phones
  4. Don’t reach and grab food; ask someone to pass it to you
  5. Chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk with your mouth full
  6. Take teaspoon-sized bites and don’t stuff your mouth
  7. Say “excuse me” (don’t announce you’re going to the restroom), “no thank-you” (if you don’t like something) and “I’m sorry” (when needed)
  8. Use your utensils, don’t lick your fingers or spit out food, and don’t shovel food into your mouth
  9. Don’t take more than your fair share and don’t waste food
  10. Ask who, what, where, when, why, and how questions – be interested in others


We can all have Civility for a caring, considerate, and courteous society.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri