I believe myself capable of rational thought. It is that irrational and over-emotional conclusion that leads me to write a self-reflective post full of over-blown thinking about thinking like this one.
I was a public school teacher for 31 years. It really seems more like 131 years for all the kids I got to know and lessons I got to teach. I have lots and lots of experience on which to draw for the drawing of conclusions about education. Here is a conclusion I drew (literally);
I can hear the debate from the teachers’ lounge already. “What kind of an idiot thinks something as stupid as that?” “It’s true that there are a lot of good kids, but what about Psycho Melvin or Rebel Maria?” “Some kids are stupid. I have test data to prove it.”
But I not only believe all kids are good, I think all people are good, even the bad ones. I have large numbers of memories filed away of times I got to the bottom of problems with kids acting out in class. Invariably the reasons for their bad behaviors would either make me laugh, or make me cry. Edwin rammed the drinking fountain with his head because he was socially inept and starved for attention from the other kids. El Goofy could make his whole head turn bright purple on command because it made the girls squeal and laugh and he had learned to manipulate facial muscles to make it happen because he liked the result. Lucy yelled at me in front of the whole class because she was thinking about committing suicide like her mother had before her, and she needed me to stop her. (I don’t use these kids’ real names for some very good reasons, but rest assured, Lucy made it to adulthood.) (Sorry, I had to stop at this point and cry for 15 minutes again.) My experiences as a teacher have basically taught me that all people need love, and all people are worthy of love. Someone even loved Adolf Hitler.
There are really two kinds of teachers. There is the kind who teaches because they love kids and will literally sacrifice anything to benefit them. The Sandy Hook incident proved that those teachers exist in every school. There is also the kind who hate kids with a passion and believe themselves to be experts at classroom discipline. Don’t get me wrong, teachers like that mold young people into upstanding citizens or championship-winning football or basketball players on a regular basis. But they do it by polishing out the flaws in kids through punishment and rigorous efforts to remove every flaw because they actually detest the flaws in themselves that they see mirrored in students. I could never be that kind of teacher myself, but I know they are just as necessary as the other kind. After all, all people are good people, even the bad ones.
After more than 500 words worth of this nonsense, and I realize I still have a lot more to say about this goofy topic, I must draw to a close. And I know I haven’t convinced anyone of anything yet. But let me threaten you with the prospect that I will pursue this topic again sooner than you would like. I just can’t seem to stop thinking about why I think what I think, and why I am always thinking.