Society’s demands for teachers

The primary agents of socialization are family, church and school. This indicates that the majority of social learning occurs in these three institutions by parents, faith leaders and teachers. I’ve recently written about society’s demands for parents and society’s demands for youth, and decided that a good direction to follow with would be society’s demands for teachers and society’s demands for faith leaders. I will address my thoughts on this topic regarding teachers today, and then follow up next week in relation to faith leaders.

Teachers are called upon to educate youth in public schools. At the foundation of the United States there was an overwhelming feeling among the founders that education was necessary for building and maintaining a functional society. Public schools have changed a lot in the years since the American Revolution, some changes for good, some not. The purpose of public education was at one time to provide a basic understanding of information necessary to maintain the government of the people and to maintain liberty for the people. With a primarily agrarian society, education cut off earlier than it does today and children labored on the home farm or in the family trade. Industrialization in the country moved people off the farms and generated new jobs that required a different form of education. Without family farms to occupy children’s time, they could spend more time in school.

Public education continued to change as the current of the nation changed. Further industrialization and automation brought more and more people out of the farm lands and into urban centers. New jobs were created. Jobs that didn’t produce tangible goods. Jobs that required education. Topics in school changed. The Northwest Ordinance of 1887 prescribed three basic themes to be taught in schools: morality, religion and knowledge. It was agreed upon at the time that religious principles taught in schools should not disagree with the tenets of another faith. This means that all good aspects which are common among faiths would be taught. Obviously there has bee some dramatic changes in what is taught in public schools today.

Today education follows political correctness. Teachers are restricted from saying or teaching anything that might offend anyone who may claim association with any form of minority group or protected classification. Educators seem more interested in fairness, self-esteem, integration and unnatural equality than in teaching principles of morality and knowledge. Education has become an industry, not a service. The government claims that schools fail because there isn’t enough money. Schools compete for reputation and standardized classifications, or ratings, in order to get more of that money that there is never enough of. But what about the children and the process of education? How is it possible that a child in the U.S. can make it through 12 years of public education without learning how to read?

What does society demand from teachers? It demands that teachers teach, not conform to government imposed restrictions and regulations and revisions to curriculum. Teachers must impart their knowledge to the younger generations. Society demands honest teachers who desire the welfare of their students above acceptance of their peers, admiration of their administrators and salaries from their districts. I think there are many teachers that have the right motives, but have become part of the system, mislead by  the cultural current of political correctness and newism (meaning anything that isn’t considered traditional). Failure has become a dirty word, and all efforts are undertaken to ensure that no student fails, even if that effort means that no student learns.

There are many things in the current public education system that could stand some reforming. I don’t think teachers are necessarily one of them. I think the right people, for the most part are in place, but the place, the environment, is all wrong. If the environment can be repaired I think the teachers can get things back on track. But they have to stop the games. They have to stop kicking kids out of class because they wear a t-shirt that has the “wrong” political party represented. They need to stop failing students who refuse to pledge allegiance to foreign nations in class. They need to stop suspended kindergarten and first grade students who cut L shapes into paper or chew them into Pop-Tarts, because in some point of view that shape looks like a gun. The people who do these things are not teachers, they are either enemy infiltrating indoctrination specialists or they are idiots. In either case they are not the teachers that society demands.

I’ll provide an example of a teacher that society demands. Whether you embrace his curriculum or not is up to you, but please consider his methods.

Jesus teaching his disciples

Image used with permission. Copyright James L. Johnson.

Jesus Christ is the perfect example of a teacher. He knew the material he intended to teach, and he lived by it. There was no hypocrisy in him. He taught after a manner that allowed for learners at all levels to understand something of what he was teaching. Parables were stories relative to the time in which he lived and that held deeper meaning. The truths in the parables were detectable by more advanced students who could glean principles from the basic narrative. He taught through questions. He asked questions of his students to determine their level of comprehension and what lesson was appropriate for them. Questions were also used to allow the student to discover the answer on their own, making the lesson more powerful. He taught simply, but with full purpose. He didn’t dress things up in the newest technologies in order to capture attention or compete with entertainment pursuits, he simply taught truth to those who were seeking it. To all who asked, he answered. Above all, he did not teach to control or to manipulate. He taught so that people would be informed when it came time for them to make decisions and to act. His method of teaching preserved liberty and allowed for self-governance.

I think society needs more teachers like Jesus Christ. Teachers who teach truth, regardless of the environment they are in. Teachers who know what they are teaching are good because they have experience with the topic. Teachers who care more about the student’s understanding than their personal standing in their career. Schools are one of the three pillars in the process of socialization. There is great opportunity afforded by public schooling if the process is carried out responsibly and with good intentions. This “if” seems to be pretty big these days.

What do you think? What does society demand from teachers? Are the demands fair? What is the state of the public education system in the U.S.?

About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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