Hello people of the Universe !
Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about how a teacher of mine had and still has an influence on my life. After that, I started thinking about what it means to be a teacher and how they are perceived in our society nowadays. It came out that the look we have regarding their importance has quite changed with the years.
My dad is the third child of two teachers. He dropped out of school before he got his diploma and I see in his eyes how much he regrets today. I was raised in a house where my father was quite involved in my education. Every single topic was important and you know, I had the capacities to learn, learn and learn again (I kind of explained that here). He told me how it was, at his time, to be at school. He told me teachers had the right to hit students if they didn’t know their lessons. Once, he got hit on the head with a ruler that got broken in two pieces. At his time, when students were punished by their teacher, it was their fault and they were sure to get told off when they went home. At his time, parents were on the teacher’s side.
My father doesn’t speak about his childhood as a terrible period because he had friends, he messed around and enjoyed that, but he is relieved that teachers can’t hit children anymore. There are many other ways to make you learn your lessons. There is patience. There is support. There is understanding towards one another. But at his time, school was the representation of opportunities and equality, and getting your diploma was the symbol of success. Teachers were holders of knowledges and it was a mark of superiority towards “the people”. Teachers were respected, they were responsible of your achievement. But when I understand and of course agree with the change of their brutal behavior, I still don’t know what has happened with the rest of our perception. You may wonder what I am talking about, you may not have noticed it…
Teachers are boring and annoying. Teachers are stupid. Teachers are weak. Teachers are whiners. Teachers are too strict. Teachers are too permissive.
These are the few adjectives I hear about them. And my question is simply why? What has happened? I would agree if parents wanted a more equal relationship between teachers and children with less power in teachers’ hands and more freedom in kids’ mind, but it is not only about that. In my opinion, we less respect teachers nowadays because we think we know everything. Even if we don’t. Even if we can’t explain something, at least we know it and it is enough. We take their worth away because we can find all the answers on the Internet. Google has become our master and we never contradict it as much as we love doing so with teachers. But we can’t consider teachers useless. They complete our home education. They provide different ways to understand the world. They pass our heritage down. And it is not because Google knows everything that teachers have to. School allows to learn from everybody, not only from teachers, and this is valid for students as much as for professors.
Of course, I can’t put aside teachers who break you down, teachers that can’t handle their ego of masters of the Universe because they know and you don’t… yet. What I don’t like with the French system is that you are not always equal to your teachers. Most of them respect you, don’t get me wrong, but few of them accept different points of view, criticisms or discussions. I had the chance to study economics, politics and social science. My teachers were open-minded. In fact, they had to be, especially when we were talking about politics. They encouraged us to express our opinions. Sometimes, I wished I was deaf because sexist and racist arguments drive me crazy, but I was glad to take those topics up and debate. It is a learning process, and one of the most important value that can be passed down by teachers : discuss with respect. I love debates. I am in my element when I assist and participate in them. Without my teachers, I wouldn’t have discovered that as deep as I did. Of course, when you are a teenager you speak with your friends but your discussion stay at a small level; you don’t know everything, you have a point of view of a 16-year-old and you can’t confront your opinions. Bringing up debates in class makes you speak with people you are not used to do so with. It generates a new world, a new way of explaining your thoughts. To be polite, you open your f*cking mind and your f*cking ears and you can’t hide behind a f*cking screen. You are forced to put words on your feelings. And this is how you learn to stand up for yourself. And this is how you see other sides of people and ideas. And this is how you grow. take that in your face, Google
Teachers don’t lead the world but they contribute to its evolution.