As I might have said already, I’m training to become a teacher. In my studies, I’m often confronted with interesting kids (both negative and positive) and equally interesting colleagues (also both negative and positive).
The funny part? With kids, the positive outweigh the negative about 10:1 or 20:1. But teachers? It’s the other way around, 1:10 or 1:20. The amount of stupid, unmotivated, socially incompetent, bored and vision-less teachers I’ve met is appalling. I recounted the one event where a teacher declared us to be “different from other animals because we evolved”. That’s fairly stupid, but it can easily be corrected by a somewhat competent biology teacher.
But what happens if you get teachers who are unwilling to teach a certain concept simply because it’s “hard to teach”? No kidding, that’s what a teacher said on Thursday, March 7th. Note that this took place one day before International Woman’s Day. Here’s the conversation from a seminar. The teacher (~30 years of experience) was in the audience:
Teacher: So basically, I don’t teach students from other countries that it’s important to treat women in the same way as men because their parents will come to school and complain. Plus, the parents don’t even want to shake hands with me because I’m a woman so why should I bother?
* Nods of approval from the audience*
Me: I don’t want to sound offensive, but what you’re doing is actually against the law. The Austrian curriculum says, among other things, very specifically that we have to teach “tolerance towards others, minorities and other cultures”. I’d suggest that “others” includes women. A different law (which I’m unable to recall at this moment) also states that we have to raise kids to be “mündige Bürger”, which I’d translate as mature/responsible citizens. Part of that is adhering to the basic norms we’ve got in our culture, in this case treating women equally well as men.
The teacher wasn’t able to respond, obviously, so that was that.
Now I put it to you that this is not exclusive to teaching. You’ll have idiots in every job, people who’ll stall progress. But I’d also argue that teaching is so incredibly important that we have to single it out. We raise the next generation, we are responsible for the future. If we fuck up badly, everything is potentially fucked.
My message? Have some vision! Don’t let other people wear you down, don’t forget the ideals you had when you were young. Stick to them, no matter how hard it is.