I've been wanting to talk about something for so long now, especially after watching episode 6 of My So-Called Life (if you want to watch it here) which talked about what I want to talk about today. And the substitute teacher in that episode makes them think.
Sure, more is revealed about him afterwards, but he was still not afraid to be unlike most teachers and allow the students to think..but more about that later.
But just a few minutes ago, I came across this post on tumblr:
My grade 4 teacher took my desk away because I would draw on it. I was to sit on the floor for months as my punishment. (Deserved or not, to an 8 year old this was really embarrassing.)
My grade 7 teacher went into my desk to go through my folder of (admittedly angsty) art without my permission, then went to my mother. Because of her I was forced to see the school psychiatrist regularly.
My grade 8 teacher told me art could never be a career and that I would end up without any worth, working somewhere trashy for my whole life.
My grade 9 teacher ripped up my entire art folder because I was drawing in class, after bawling in front of everyone she then chased me into the washroom to lecture me while I hid to cry in a stall.
My grade 10 teacher didn’t believe I had painted something by myself, she told me it was plagiarism and gave me zero. When it was in fact 100% mine.
This is just few of many.
Thirteen years have passed and I am ashamed to admit that any of this still affects me. These instances for which I am sure are insignificant to any of you shook my confidence, sucked the passion out of my only escape, and made me feel as if my hobby was wrong, worthless, and should be hidden; and for that I will never forgive them.
And it just fueled everything I wanted to say.
Teachers or any authority figure, to be honest, have the belief that they are the figure of authority and that they deserve and demand respect. I don't disagree. But I don't agree.
Respect is earned not given away for free or demanded. Respect cannot be expected by one that shows no respect towards others. I mean, I feel absurd saying that like it's a brand new fact, but you'd be surprised how many people don't quite realize that.
But, besides respect, simply because you are in an authoritative position does not mean that you are right. I don't care if you're in charge of some über successful business firm or the person with the highest IQ. You may be deemed superior, but alleged superiority does not mean perception, vision, intellect. It is not difficult to be normal. It really isn't. If people weren't chameleons when it came to social interaction with people of different "ranks" in society and didn't use such a patronizing tone and attitude towards people "inferior" to them, we wouldn't have such a medieval problem. (Although, to be honest, I doubt medieval people had this problem, so excuse my comparison medieval people)
I absolutely hate it when teachers feel they are in the position of complete authority and begin to stuff their own personal beliefs and opinions down my throat. We can have a civilized and open minded discussion without coming to an agreement. An agreement is not vital. The world disagrees because people are different and that's just the way it's meant to be. The end. Perhaps I'm not the wrong one here, maybe you have the problem and craving to be right 110% of the time.
You can't be.
And you certainly cannot (and do not have the right, b y t h e w a y) to enforce your opinions.
Your occupation (and if you're actually meant to be a teacher, your passion) is to teach the young minds in your classrooms how to find and form their own opinions. You're expected to tell the less confident ones that their opinions matter and allow the more confident ones to freely express them, or at least, be able to believe in those opinions without constant condemnation and ridicule.
Students spend the majority of their time at school and perhaps the teachers have forgotten just how difficult it was to open yourself up for judgment, first thing every damn day. It gets difficult and to gain their respect, you should give them your understanding and respect for that matter. It should be mutual for things to work out smoothly and believe me, teenagers will easily give you the respect you desire if you are considered understanding or sometimes just plain amusing or straightforward (many teenagers find it comedic and interesting when teachers are sarcastic and just..get it)
So perhaps it's time for everyone to treat it like a battlefield of clashing perspectives and just try to understand each other. Because living in other people's shoes could never be easy but if we try our best to empathize, it will all work out.
That's pretty much it. That's all I wanted to say.