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Do teachers have to give up civil liberties to teach?


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A colleague of mine saw this and passed it along to me and it seems very fitting for you @Gord Barentsen !! (not because you write erotica tho 😄)


A raunchy article that he'd written for a website landed Guy Doza in trouble at school. Now he asks: do we have to surrender civil liberties to become teachers?


We need to teach children how to think rather than what to think. – Margaret Mead

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  • 4 weeks later...

I (finally!) got around to reading this article, because it speaks to something which has been in my mind for a long as an educator.

I thought this was a very provocative article: although I don't teach in the secondary school system, I can't honestly say that everything in that article is foreign to universities, which are some of the most conservative institutions around.  Particularly:


Do we have to surrender civil liberties in order to become “professional” teachers? 

The official answer is yes. We should not write articles about sex; we should not be openly gay; we should not express political opinions; we should monitor and censor what we post online; we should surrender certain civil liberties; we should do as we are told. At least this is the case in the eyes of the education system. 

Now, one of my dissertation supervisors was openly gay, and in higher education it really isn't such a big deal (at least as far as I've seen).  But my issue with all of this is that secondary schools are sending generations of snowflakes to university - students who are ill-equipped to handle some of the more controversial issues about being human, including, yes, sexuality.  I realise that education is fundamentally indoctrination, although (and here's where I disagree with, say, Chomsky) I think theory and literature and philosophy can help you break through the paradigmatic restrictions of school.  And I guess that's what's threatening people in this article - not breaking out of the school paradigm, but the introduction of matter into that system which administrators and bureaucrats can't handle (emotionally or otherwise).

But I also think this is related to the idea of companies and other employers surfing your Facebook page (and in some cases demanding access!) to image manage.  I'm ambivalent about that; should employers be able to control what you say in public about them?

When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book? -- Lichtenberg



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