After wading through the headlines this past week at DetentionSlip, something seems to be bubbling up more and more.
The issue here, is a general attitude in our society that people under the age of 18 are second class citizens. We treat them as property. Some folks in power actually believe it is ok to physically harm a child in the name of discipline. Others, think it is OK to use the bodies of children for their own sexual perversions. The common theme here, is “adults” in power operating on a value system that allows for them to use the bodies of younger folks without their consent.
American's have never been much for logic and critical thinking – for the most part we are a superstitious, religious bunch fueled on ego, emotion and anecdote. We are drifting towards a more scientific approach to life, but it is a long time coming. I know it's hard for many of us, but we have to begin looking at our lives objectively; what outcome do you want to achieve, and what is the best strategy to achieve it. That strategy better not come from a 500 year old interpretation of a 2000 year old book, your “gut”, or something that “has always been done that way”.
Society gives parents and teachers a great deal of freedom to royally fuck up a kid having any chance at a fulfilling life. We need to go back to elementary vocabulary and Venn diagrams; simply because you are a parent, doesn't mean you know how to parent. Same goes for teachers, simply because you are a teacher, doesn't mean you know how to teach.
For those of you who found education because you have a passion for changing the lives of others, want to change the world for the better, and are humbled by the opportunity to play a part in shaping the minds of our youngest citizens – we salute you. But for those of you who got into teaching for “the summers off”, because you couldn't get into med school, or some other reason that isn't 'this was my life dream', stop killing the dreams and lives of the kids. Stop the resentment for their opportunity, stop the frustration with your own lack of ability and use challenges as a chance to grow. And finally – if you can't see students as your equals, as folks you are there to help guide safely into adulthood, take one for the team, go back to school and change careers.