What do we expect of our young people?

7 05 2008

This morning in the assembly, an announcement was made to the effect that students are not to post videos of themselves in uniform or recorded on the school campus onto video sharing sites such as YouTube and Google Video, and this morning in class, my students were in revolt. “Communists!” they cried. “Fascism!” they shouted. They felt that the school had overstepped its boundaries, and were now trying to stifle their freedom of speech.

Because of how they all seemed to be feeling, we had discussion time. We talked about how they’re feeling about this, ‘this’ being the announcement. Some students were outraged, and accused the school of just caring about its reputation, and not caring about the individual. Others said that it’s easy to just speak, and expect everyone to obey, but if we just blindly acquiesce, then how much better than robots are we? I listened, debated a few things with them, and tried to encourage them to see the other side of the argument. All those skills we learn in the teaching diploma do nothing to prepare you for some of the things you face in the classroom.

As an individual, I believe it is alright to question authority, and it is alright to voice those questions, but only if these questions are actually being asked, rather than shouted or even accused. If all there is is just complaint after complaint, and mindless dissent for the sake of argument, then there is no point to this kind of discussion – one may as well just write them down, and bury them in the ground. All that realistically can be heard is the sound of clashing cymbals, which drowns out anything and everything else. And then I came back to my desk in the staff room and saw this:

“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”
— Robert Anthony

An email I received yesterday made me feel awful – selfish, self-absorbed and everything else that I don’t like to think I am. I felt upset about it for the whole of the day, and even talking about it with someone else didn’t help. I’m talking with the person who wrote it now, and whilst some of the things that are being talked about exactly aren’t really “helping” in the sense of alleviating the burden of guilt with it, but it’s good to feel that knot untangle itself. The person who wrote the email says they need to talk to someone outside the situation, because it was something to do with how they felt afterwards too.

Sometimes, I just don’t get anything. At all. It’s like, the situation can seem so clear, and then get flipped totally on its head, and I never even saw it coming. I wish I were a grown-up.




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