Saturday, April 23, 2011

Teachers Discriminate

Hey all,

As always, feel free to comment on the following.

As a senior in high school, I've had my fair share of teachers.  And as all students know, there are some teachers who are good and some who just plain suck.  But have you ever considered why a particular teacher is bad?

Sometimes I hear that it's based on the subject.  Artsy folk may not enjoy science classes.  Likewise, science nerds don't necessarily enjoy English classes.  But there are other people, like me, who like or dislike classes, not subjects.  I have no favorite subject, not in high school anyway.  Every subject is generally the same in value for me.  But what I've realized is that I tend to either really enjoy a class, or loathe it.

The reason is actually pretty simple.  Teachers can greatly influence how students react to a class.  No student enjoys a class where they are hated by the grand authority figure.  This is where some social psychologists may emphasize the self-fulfilling prophecy, where students' attitudes towards teachers affect the way they are treated. I'd go so far as to say this is what the majority of students experience; those who hate particular subjects will show that, and that displacement will cause the teacher to act reciprocally.  However, if you're like me, this reasoning is incorrect.

The way I see it, I don't like some teachers because they flat-out do not like me.  I think our education system is extremely naive.  Whenever we share these thoughts to authority figures, they always brush it off and claim that it's how we act.  Our predisposition of a class makes us think that we are being targeted.  Never have I heard that it's even possible the teacher is discriminatory.

At my particular high school, we have all these rules in place regarding discrimination of gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, etc.  It's presented in a way that assumes students don't follow these guides.  However, why is that?  It's obvious many students discriminate one another, but is it really that exclusive?  I dare say teachers are equally obligated to follow these guidelines.  In my opinion, these guidelines are superficial regulations to create the facade of a peaceful learning environment.

So a quick summary.  Why do I not like classes?  Because of bad teachers.  Why are teachers bad?  Because they discriminate.

As a minority, it's difficult for me to make any powerful assertions.  I can claim a teacher to be racist, but no one would believe me.  Why would they?  If the rest of the class is Caucasian, they certainly would not feel the same way.  But that's the beauty of it.  Students never claim of sexist teachers because teachers don't explicitly show that.  If the gender split is even, the teacher would have a hard time discriminating against a large group of students.  On the other hand, when it's duck, duck, grey duck the teacher can be discriminatory.  No, there's no real way to see if a teacher is racist, or sexist, or homophobic without a direct confession, but in my defense, it's equally petty to think all teachers treat all students equally.

Now the clincher.  So what?  To be perfectly honest, I don't give a rat's buttocks about the teacher's personal beliefs.  A teacher is still a person, and he or she is entitled to opinions.  Do I feel targeted at times?  Absolutely.  In fact, there is no doubt that there are teachers who are racist.  Maybe not in my school, but they exist.  The real issue I have with this is about superficiality.  I don't mind if a teacher is discriminatory.  Do they have a moral obligation to be fair?  Yes.  But they don't need to be.  And because of this, the only thing I need from my high school is to recognize that this is a possibility.

The fact of the matter is that the teacher may not even know it.  They might just have a psychological predisposition to dislike certain individuals.  A lot of this is cultural.  Some teachers may not like what students wear, but they don't consciously recognize that.  Essentially, it's not really anyone's fault!  The only error is how schools try to hide the imperfections.

It was cute in 3rd grade to say that we were imagining things.  It's not so cute in high school when you can feel things happening.  It's extremely painful to not be able to talk about this to a teacher, because after all, I'd be complaining about their colleague.  And due to our conditioned responses about confronting a teacher about negative affairs, are we really expected to go and tell them ourselves?  They could just as easily say that I'm just imagining things.

In closing, teachers are just as discriminatory as students.  Schools don't need to fix that.  Fix how it's portrayed.

Thanks for reading,


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