James Baldwin once said, ‘A Teacher Who Is Not Free to Teach Is Not a Teacher’, and I wanted to reflect on that thought. Are teachers free to teach? And if not, how does it affect the students? Schools are institutions that mostly have a well-established set of rules and a planned syllabus. Both the rules and the syllabus are meant to help in maintaining discipline, which is fundamental for children and teenagers alike.
Some schools urge teachers to lecture about racism or prejudice. From my perspective, I believe that teachers need to follow their respective syllabus but that it is also part of their job to provide their students with guidance on societal issues. In the United States, students spend an average of seven hours at school a day compared to less than 2 hours with their parents.
Be aware that I am not saying it is the role of the teacher to provide all the teaching; of course, learning starts at home, but if you have the possibility to educate a child, you should seize this opportunity.
Academic freedom does not equal teaching whatever you like. Let’s set things straight; you can teach whatever you want within your syllabus as it will not be fair to students if you start wandering away from your teaching topics, wasting their time and confusing them too. Maybe if you are a freelance teacher or teaching via social media, but when you are part of an institution, you have rules to follow too, and you get paid for that.
Teachers should feel free to teach their assigned subject, not what they feel is right. There should be a level of flexibility so that teachers are content in doing their job.
Future Of Education.
Each institution is implementing different policies and protocols when it comes to what a teacher should be teaching. As I mentioned earlier, racism, sexism, and inequality are the main topics that are avoided in certain academies. At the same time, some academies are asking teachers to be hundred percent transparent and open about these subjects. Many teachers are struggling, feeling suffocated.
Racism is an important issue in the United States, and students are exposed to it through social media and television. In most schools, there is a mix of majority and minority populations. This diversity should be addressed and not overlooked. Some teachers choose to ignore certain classroom incidents pertaining to racism only because they are nervous about broaching the subject.
Say No To Distortion.
Texas wants to approve a bill where educators won’t be able to talk freely about current affairs. America was always seen by other countries as the land of opportunities. Everyone gets to be their authentic self, but why is white-washing history considered acceptable and even supported by some?
Historians are claiming that it is impossible to bypass race and prejudice when teaching American history. Passing such bills is similar to silencing minority communities when suppressing current affairs and teaching historical facts. More than five states in the United States have already approved the bill, and much more states are considering approving it.
In my opinion, teachers should be free to address societal issues in the classroom without fear of legal repercussions. Some teachers report that children ask them about topics like ‘black lives matter, and they are sorry when they have to avoid the subject, knowing that maybe this is where they could have gotten a clear answer. In the comments, tell us what you think about the state trying to control teachers when it comes to subjects such as racism.