I am an Educator. Education is violence

I am torn between being

*someone whose entire life, training, & career are about Education;
*and being someone who loathes with a passion the physical & mental control/violence that educational institutions inflict upon people.

Leonid Afremov, “After School”

Do I really have to explain?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve gone through school or college. Chances are, also, that you’ve experienced epiphanies of knowledge in classrooms or while studying for class. (Chances are, you could experience some of those epiphanies – not all – while reading on your own, or discussing your reading in a good book club.)

Chances are, you’ve had to deal with a teacher or professor who hates their job, or their boss, or their life, and you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I’ve experienced a number of educational settings. I’ve also taught in a number of institutions. My child has experienced a few schools in her life. I value schools and colleges. I also hate them for what they do to the most vulnerable of people.

I believe in the power of learning. I also believe that mass education in neoliberal capitalist societies can be intellectually and emotionally destructive. You might learn some facts about how to do equations, but you might also internalize a sense of inferiority because your teacher doesn’t want to waste time with you. Or you might learn to hate learning because your teacher wants to be a dot com millionaire rather than teach classes of struggling students.

And don’t even get me started on body control in schools. There are apparently quotas of bathroom passes per month in schools. There are kids being turned away from lunch because there’s no space in the cafeteria. There are kids ashamed of their homes and their parents, fearful of hallways, terrified of their peers. The climate of most schools is, truthfully, unpleasant.

So yes, I am torn.

I the middle of the night, I sit here, worrying about a child’s school experience. I’ve seen cases where a staff member tries to sweat a child out of her class into an ‘easy’ one.

So I am wishing I could just scoop the child up, and hide her under my wings, and teach her myself.

But, well – having gone through a horrible math education experience myself, I cannot.

So I sit here and wonder why we are slaves to educational institutions, and why they are like this.


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