I was an English teacher. My Aunt says I AM an English teacher. Always will be. Contrary to the misspellings and poor grammar I use on THIS site (and contrary to the fact that I NEVER want to stare down PILES of papers to grade EVER again), that is what I am trained to do. There are certain professions that enable a person to truly see other sides of a situation. An actor for example HAS to quite literally walk in someone else's shoes. That means putting aside any bias or judgment and understanding the character's motivation. English teachers [should] do the same thing. We need to teach our students to REALLY understand a character--good or bad. We need to teach our students to objectively look at situations and not deem them good or bad. We need to step out of situations personally to really understand characters in the works we read. We should not have politics. We should not have religion--at least not in the classroom. Our job is to somehow get our students to do the same. To understand if not to agree. To sympathize if not empathize.
My son came home a few weeks ago and nonchalantly mentioned that he thought he was being bullied at school. The reason he "thought" and didn't "know" is because he used to say he was being bullied whenever he didn't get his way or whenever someone didn't want to play with him. We tried to teach him that when people leave someone out it's not always nice, but it's not necessarily bullying. He seems to get it now. Evidently some girls (yes, girls--they can be vicious--YOU know!) are calling him "fairy-boy" and have been since the beginning of the year when he made his "All About ME" board. It seems my son thought it would be funny to put a picture of himself as a toddler dressed in a princess costume on it. He showed me the picture and laughed and I said, "I'm sure there are other pictures that you will love even more..." to try to talk him out of it. I'm not proud of that. I'm not proud that I live in a world where I have to be afraid of eight-year-olds bullying my son for wearing a costume of ANY kind. I'm not proud that people MY age--educated people--are teaching their children (by example) that this is tolerable behavior.
I'll tell you what I AM proud of these days. My son. He told me about the bullying AFTER he went to his teacher. He told me, not as a victim, but as a concerned student. He told me, "I really don't care, mom--I'm just worried that they will do it to OTHER kids. Kids who MAY care. Plus, I don't get it. It was funny--like--the first DAY. Why are they still doing it now? NOOOOOOTTTTT FUNNNNNNY ANYMOOOOOORE!" When I spoke with the "Anti-Bullying Liasion" at his school, she was equally impressed. Evidently he shared his concern for "...kids who aren't as secure" as he is and told her he didn't want the bullies to take advantage of "weaker" students "who might not be able to take it as well." I must be doing SOMETHING right...
Interview With Jeff Kreisler of PeopleScience
2 months ago