Are Teachers The Backbone of Our Country?
A System, A Country
This question sparked another and yet another. What exactly makes anything a backbone of anything? What is the one defining feature of having a backbone that is so important to a country? Where is the correlation between teacher, backbone, and country?
Bear with me, as I tread this question. Somewhere is an answer and I know what my answer is. The harder part is explaining the reasoning behind it. And I have to start somewhere. This answer is a small part to a bigger picture, a different question, another time.
A spinal vertebrae is the ridge that keeps a structure rigid and is the focal point for all connections in the mammalian body. A network reaches out and connects with another network. A simple spark spreads across wires and splits into many different sparks, much like our neurological system and our computers.
A backbone is considered a very systematic network, a cohesive matter of a whole. A person with a strong metaphoric backbone is considered someone with a strong sense of self; a determination for what that person thinks is right; and a strength that says, "Don't tread on me". Basically, the spirit of that metaphor is innate strength that demands and earns respect. It's a system of a person's ability to survive and live.
The backbone of a country, then, would be similar to structure of the body and the essence of inner strength supported by that singular ridge connected to all other ridges. What system, then, belies this country? Is it democracy? Is it the will to live the way we want to live? Certainly, a system is in place, but is it helping the body of a whole to survive? Does it carry out it's original intentions?
What Education Is And, in Turn, What Educators Are
Education has a unique beginning. So does schooling. So does our country. This is important because while the terms have evolved from the 1500s, the core of it remains the same.
Our country began with people who explored, stumbled across something new, and through many trial and errors of massacres, in-fighting, and slavery, reached the point of fully setting in principles of a young country.
Education, on the other hand, has gone through many different countries, eras, and people. The term itself goes as far back as mid-1500s. It, in its Latin roots, literally meant to lead or to bring out. Throughout the 1500s, it took on meaning as to 'train animals' and 'train children'. In the 1600s, it was a training for social norms and training for work.
The word 'schooling' itself is such an interesting contradiction. The term came from segh, which evolved into skhole. It meant 'holding back', in its literal translation. In a less literal translation, it was a term that meant 'holding back from too much work'. That translated, eventually, into leisure. Leisure! Who would have thought?
However, our country had different ideas. Take a look at some of John Taylor Gatto's work in its entirety and you will see what I mean. The history of our country's schooling is painful. The purpose was a militaristic purpose, the idea taken from the long-gone Prussia, in the 1900s.
So, our educators take part in that. Perhaps unknowingly, perhaps blindingly, in the trusting pursuit to mold minds innocently in the guise that learning has to be taught.
"Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." -Oscar Wilde
So, Are Teachers The Backbone of Our Country?
I believe I can honestly answer here when I say yes and no. Yes, teachers are trained, dedicated, and systematic. They serve a purpose of our country's schooling agenda. But, no, it's not in the spirit of resolved, strengthened spine of united citizens. It is to strengthen the government, not the people.
They do help fulfill the original purpose taken from Prussia. You are disciplined and trained, still, much in the way of military. Here are quite a few examples to consider.
- You must ask before you can do basic function like using the bathroom.
- You must learn ONLY the material provided to you, so that you can pass standardized tests.
- You must be excited to learn the materials teacher provide you, and then drop everything at the sound of the bell. Nothing must ever be fully completed or absorbed.
- Your self-respect and how good you are to your parents are entirely dependent on the grades your teacher gives you.
- Your parents are not qualified to teach you anything, only to back up everything the teacher is teaching you.
More On All That Stuff
- Against School, by John Taylor Gatto
- Word Power: Education
The etymology of the word eduction. Eduction finds its origin in the Latin word educare, which means to bring up, rear, train, raise and support.
- Etymology for School
- John Taylor Gatto - Challenging the Myths of Modern Schooling
- Etymology for Educate
- Etymology for Education
- The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher, by John Taylor Gatto
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