Highly Qualified.

I hope my legs don’t break…walking on the moon

There is a question that is difficult to frame correctly, and even speak: are educators encouraged to be curious? To be investigators and scientists of our world? Moreover, what obligation to we have to ensure our students (within our intellectual and academic abilities) have access to the best education possible? And how do we define “best education?” Is it a willingness and acceptance of humility and reflective failures? To demonstrate acuity and mastery with rhetoric and logic?

(Thinks internally: get to the point.)

What if…

…a teacher who teaches world history only “believes” the world is 6,000 years old?

…a science teacher who “believes” in intelligent design theory or creationism?

….an English teacher who can’t explain the difference between Charles Dickens and a Hallmark holiday movie?

…supporter of STEM/STEAM but doesn’t think we went to the moon?

…or the world is flat?

…or a history teacher who believes Trump is helping our country?

…a science teacher who doesn’t understand how vaccines work?

…a counselor who doesn’t have access or the will to support gay, pregnant, homeless or other children in crisis? (And I have never met one of these types of counselors, lucky for them.)

…a referee who cuts off a child’s hair in a pique of openly displayed racism and hate?

a teacher who puts his faith before a student’s identity?

or a teacher who tries to call out racist culture and is targeted by the very hate groups he spoke against?

I mean — look! LOOK AT ALL THE COOL STUFF WE KNOW!

We, teachers, stumble constantly, there is no doubt about that. One of my favorite teacher-writers, Tom Rademacher, (@MrTomRad) uses a blend of humility and unapologetic know-how that provides many of us the comfort and discomfort that we may not always get it right, but dangit, we’re trying! Another one of my favorite teacher-writers is Mrs. Hall (@MrsHallScholars)

She uses her ‘warm demander’ voice — the gentle but urgent voice to encourage not only her lucky students but all of us who stand in her light. Think I’m being hyperbolic? Follow her and you’ll see what I mean.

Here’s what I’m wrestling with now: I am having a difficult time understanding how teachers/educators promote racism, ignorance, and don’t use facts, science, and reflection as part of their practice, no matter what they teach?

Bear with me while I work through this.

PS Why I chose some of the links: we are learning new things about new things all the time, and learning new things about old things, things we’ve done, researched, probed, analyzed, accomplished and litigated. It’s fine to have faith, beliefs, and abstract notions of beauty we cannot see. Carl Sagan was a master of straddling the gulf between science and power of belief. But please, please: be a thinker. Be curious. Be a questioner. Be a healthy skeptic. But please: be smart about it.

4 comments

  1. We are a part of our culture, and that’s not something we can avoid. That means, since our culture is racist, we pick up elements of racism whether we want to or not, and can unconsciously carry them forward.

    As a white person in the United States, I benefit from systematic racism whether or not I want anything to do with it. And I can even unconsciously support it without intending to. Because that’s how our culture is designed.

    The problem comes when we’re confronted with our moments of racism. Do we double-down on it? Or do we recognize that, oops, we made a mistake, perhaps even accidentally caused harm, and seek to correct our behavior? It can be hard to do the right thing in those moments, but it’s important to learn and listen and grow.

    I’m focusing on the racism here, but many of the other issues raised here have parallel situations. It’s hard to break our preconceived notions, and when confronted with the idea we’re doing harm, we often try to embrace our own innocence rather than embrace an opportunity for growth and betterment of our situation.

  2. Your comment is much more focused than my rambling post: just overwhelmed by all the ignorance out there. We educators are supposed to be fighting it, not promoting it.

Leave a Reply