ㅤ (rachelismo) wrote,

rachelismo

Superhero or Villain: The Role of the Teacher in the Classroom and society

These thoughts are based on my experiences teaching alphabetization to grown ups in horrible social situations for a year and teaching a second language to all ages up until the present days.

When you start teaching, you strip yourself of your humanity. As soon as you introduce yourself as the teacher for that particular class, you become this entity that signifies that you are no longer a human, you are no longer relatable, you are no longer part of that society.

You are there as judge and executioner.

And in that capacity, you become, in the eyes of the students, a superhero or a villain. Sometimes both.

Teaching the grown ups - people way over the age of forty who had no opportunities to learn, sometimes because they had to work from a young age, sometimes because of family abuse - was a big experience in the sense that you could feel the shift very clearly, and it almost always tended to go to the “superhero” side of the scale.

We were someone superhuman who came to save them from their old reality and we were supposed to have all the answers and be completely capable to deal with all problems that should arise in that classroom.

Of course that happens a lot in the younger classes too, the thought that the teacher should be able to deal with everything that comes their way.

But the teenagers and the children, at least in Brazil, tend to focus on the villain side of the teacher.

As I mentioned before, schools around here have a punitive characteristic, they are prisons, a place where you can’t get out unless you please the key keeper, who is the teacher, that unreasonable person who doesn’t understand that being young is fucking HARD and that learning is NOT what school is about.

School is about socialization. And the role of the teacher is that of the prison guard, that person who is there to keep the peace, but most of the time can’t do much about the rules that are already in place.

Most teachers in my country are not motivated by their job. Teaching in Brazil is hard. There is very little incentive and the resources are minimum and, again, people go into school with the feeling that they already hate it.

Teachers feel always like they are fighting with their students for the right to maybe teach them something, and they are. It’s hard and sometimes, if the students can’t be swayed, unsatisfactory.

Because you can only feel good about what you are teaching if you manage to make the students have a different view of themselves and the world they live in.

Education in a country like ours is so damn important, it gives a sense of self worth to those who can get past the social structure that is school.

A good teacher knows this and tries so freaking hard to pass this along.

I have a lot of feelings about this (as you can tell). I could go on and on about how students of all ages de-humanize their figures of authority, but I am tired and I have a class to teach early in the morning.

Goodnight, people :)
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