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The Reality of Teaching

Updated on October 18, 2018
Rodric29 profile image

Rodric has a Master in adult education. He has over ten years of facilitation and teaching experience.

Society is different now than it was 50 years ago. Some things are the same that will not change despite steps teachers take to fortify their classrooms. The human experience does not stop with a structured learning environment but expands to all situations where any type of teaching occurs. This includes home, workplace, playground, cafeteria, internet, etc. The reality of education is it happens no matter if who teaches or intentions to teach it or not. This article contains information that public teachers have experienced as modern teachers in Western culture.

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Thin Line

My eight-year-old daughter came home to tell my wife and me what she learned in school one day. Relating to my wife what she learned and where she learned it, her mother sent her to me because it was so appalling.

My daughter spoke to me in a matter of fact manner. "Daddy, Mom told me to tell you what happen today. Todd said that the n-word means Black people." (Real name not used)

Not knowing how to respond to her experience, I gave her some platitude. Her mother pursued by reaching out to her teacher in an email suggesting the student receive a talking to and parental notification, which did occur. Several others have complained about the child in question.

My daughter's teacher is now put in the situation where she has to use a very thin line to teach her offending student that using epitaphs to hurt or malign others is unacceptable. Why a thin line. That eight-year-old boy did not come up with that idea to teach to his Black classmate on his own. It could have been taught in his home, in a friends home, by television, by the internet, by an older sibling or kid, a number of possibilities.

To avoid a political nightmare, this teacher has to determine how best to address the situation. If the principal and school board get involved, it can turn into something it should not. The boy and girl are eight-year-olds. Possibly the boy parroted something he learned, which in turn the young girl parroted.

To correct her students to make a learning environment that is conducive for the education of all class members regardless of religious, racial, political, and any other differences, the teacher has to educate her students. Societal strain on teachers to teach basic education to elementary school kids hangs in the cloud of social justices, freedom of religions, political correctness, state standards, national standards, standardized tests, gender sensitivity, family dynamics and much more.

The reality of teaching is no longer about educating kids alone. It is about teaching manners, social skills, fairness, acceptance, tolerance with some math and science sprinkled in if time permits.

Moral Thin Line

Ethics has become the rule in society today. Politicians can scream all day long about religious freedom and morals, but teachers have to teach ethics. Ethics have a reputation for being above a specific moral code or religious preference. Though that is true to an extent, ethics are not set in stone. Situational ethics. Depending on situations and circumstances in situations ethical standards can change.

Teachers must navigate political waters of ethics having the ability to shift with tides of situational circumstances to avoid accusations that they are trying to influence the morals of impressionable children.

One ethical dilemma a teacher experienced involved a student who had to parents of the same gender. The teacher made a comment that everyone has a mother and a father because it takes a man and woman to make a child. The student raised his hand a bit confused and asked about his situation having two mothers.

All students in the classroom were interested in what the teacher would say. The kids wanted to know how to explain two mothers who actively participated in school and interacted with their class since only a man and woman can have a kid. Their son sat in her class, with no father.

The teacher, of course, found an explanation that satisfied the students. She had to be true to science and nature without making her students feel that the boy with two moms was different or strange. That student was not responsible for his parents life-partner decisions.

The teacher was able to make an ethical decision to let her students know that it was normal to have parents or a parent. She then informed them that men and women give things to help babies grow inside of the woman. Sometimes the man and the woman are together, sometimes the woman is alone, sometimes there are two men or two women, and sometimes the man is alone. Luckily, she did not have to elaborate. The students accept the information she gave so that she could move on the lesson without any child feeling abnormal that day.

The teacher did not agree with the life choices of her student's parents. She was expected to go against her moral compass and facilitate learning for her class without inserting her morals, which she did.

The reality of teaching today involves self-suppression as it always has but to a greater extent than in the past. As society shifts what is acceptable to new definitions, in the US, even the majority shifts how it defines normal.

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Perspective

Getting a degree to teach children is not all it takes to qualify for being a good teacher. Having a passion for teaching is a good start, of course, but there must be more. Teachers are counselors. Whether society wants to admit it or not, teachers are parental figures to their students who are a diverse population in culture and personality. Even in areas where most of the students share the same culture and racial heritage, teachers have to understand personality disorders and student integration techniques. Teachers are asked to do and be so much more than what their colleagues of the past were asked with fewer options.

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© 2018 Rodric Anthony

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    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      17 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Rodric, I agreed. Thanks.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      17 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Thanks for responding Miebakagh. I wish that we still allowed prayer in schools for those who want to participate. 90 percent or more of Americans believe in a god. 70 percent claim to be Christian, but we cannot pray in public schools even though we did in my little hometown. We just ignored the law because all of us were Christians.

      I think that Muslims should be able to go and do the daily prayers in a special room or designated prayer place for all religions. Teachers may have to be silent, but they should encourage the students to follow their respective faiths in my opinion.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      17 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Rodric, the Yorubas produced the first missionary to Nigeria after the abolition of the slave trade in the United States, in the person of Samuel Adjai Crowder. As such, they are the first school teachers.

      Yes, religious freedom is supported and prayers in all schools and colleges are approved. My state Port Harcourt is very near Aba an hour or 11/2 hours drive will take you there. But in the northern part of Nigeria which is predominantly Hausa and Fulanis, the freedom can be misplaced priority between the Hausas and Christians. Thank you.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      17 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Thanks for sharing that Miebakagh. I have a few friends from Nigeria who I served with as a missionary in South Africa. My friend told me many things about his county, though he lives n South Africa now. He came along much later, being a 90.s kids.

      He is from the Yuraba tribe and is a Christain. I am happy that the tension between Muslims and Christians are not at odds in Nigeria as they are in other places. In fact, my church is building a new temple in Lagos. We have one In Aba now. I am excited to see that religious freedom is supported.

      Do the teacher have to follow similar standards that we have in the US? Can there be prayer in school at all? When I was in South Africa, we prayed with students often in school. The law changed while I was there and we could no longer go there.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      17 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      @Zulma, & @Rodric I went to a Christian School first Methodist and the Anglican. And since the teachers were from a predominantly religious background, this attitude or mindset is reflected in the teaching. In those days(the late '50's and throughout the 60's), a Moslem dare not attended a Christian School in Nigeria, due to religious prejudices.

      But children from any Christian family can be accepted since the schools were run by the English or American Missionaries. Children from non-Christians or pagans can be accepted. If a Moslem attend a Christian school, as it later happens in the 1970's, religious instructions become a conflict. This conflict was later settled as the government takes over the schools from the Missionaries. Thank you.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      17 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Zulma, I grew up in a small Christian Southern Town, Nashville, GA. We only had either Black or White people--no diversity. We had Protestant churches and everyone went to one of those churches or none at all.

      Being different in any way was terrible. If the people thought you were gay it would have been social suicide. Just the thought that a person might be gay was enough to end associations. Everyone hid it. Many of my classmates came out of the closet as adults in the early 2000s. (Only 100 people in my graduating class of 1995.) Before that, if a person was gay it was on the down-low as it is called.

      I do not agree with the lifestyle, but it is wrong to mistreat people just because they are not following Bible standards. I know too many people who live together unmarried and are having kids out of wedlock. Those are not Bible standards either. It is not my job to condemn everyone. Teachers have to be careful of what they say and how they say it. I plan on teaching, so now is the time to practice.

      Thanks for sharing your experience Zulma. Blessings

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      17 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Miebakagh, you flatter me for using my article for evaluation or any other purpose. I a happy that it merited some interest. Blessings.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      17 months ago from United Kingdom

      Times certainly have changed. But I don't really have anything to compare it to. I went to Catholic schools and of course the teachers' attitude reflected the Scriptures. If a child came from a home with two same-sex parents, well he/she would never tell anyone. If word somehow got out, the teachers would have openly condemned it saying it was unnatural and was against the teachings of God. The child would become a pariah left to the mercies of bullies. I imagine social services would have been contacted so the child could be removed from that environment. And nobody would have questioned it. Try that today and you'd have a massive law suit on your hands.

      I've never thought about what it must be like for teachers today. As you said, the world has changed so much.

      Thanks for writing this. It makes you think.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      17 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hey, Rodric29, Again appreciated your comments. I will recall and make notes forthwith. This will be a small story to be added to all other experiences for evaluation. You are always welcomed. Thanks again.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      17 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      That, sir, is still teaching. You may not do it all day, but those few hours where you do it count.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      17 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Rodric, I only give lessons to my children after school hours. Teaching is hard work. What I teach is just to keep the focus and interest in their lessons. Thank you.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      17 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Ann, I could not agree more. We have a teacher shortage in Arizona. It is hard to find teachers who are qualified and who want to teach. Most are looking for a paycheck. When they realize teaching is not a lucrative career, they leave. Or they stay and ruin kids for years in misery.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      17 months ago from SW England

      Yes, there are some bad teachers, for which I blame those who supervise their probationary year. It might not be the same in the US but here there are many who seem to pass when they shouldn't. I come across teachers in primary and secondary schools who don't seem to have any empathy with children at all! That should never happen and when it does, it lets the pupils down.

      It is not an easy job so needs a particular skill, especially these days.

      Great article, Rodric.

      Ann

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      17 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Thanks for your validation, Bill. Most of my teaching experience is private, not public schools. The experiences I had in public school gave me shellshock for years. I am not thinking about going back to school! Thanks for your 18 years of service in the system and your current services on Hubpages and your website.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      17 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Miebakagh, thanks for reading and commenting. I wonder if you have had experiences that you could write about that extol the virtues of teaching. It would be nice to read about what you have experienced, good or bad.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      17 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Ann, thanks for commenting. I felt a need to write a little after one of the commenters on another article expressed a negative experience with an instructor. I decided to write about bad teachers and this article came out. I suppose I felt some empathy for what teachers have to deal with in order to do their jobs. I acknowledge the successful educators who struggle through the process.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      All true! I spent eighteen years in the classroom, and it changed over the years, morphed if you will...your points are all valid.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      17 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Rodric, I am not a teacher, but I appreciated the informative points. Thank you for sharing.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      17 months ago from SW England

      You're right that teachers have to deal with so much more these days. Sometimes they have to take the role of parents because the parents themselves are lacking for whatever reason.

      Learning subjects and learning about society and the world have to go hand in hand. I believe the teacher should be an example of good ethics and good practice, should explain the facts without bias where necessary, but that the subject education should be paramount. We have specific lessons in Britain, to explore religions and how to be a good citizen.

      It's a difficult subject and you've discussed it well and provided good examples. It's so much more difficult being a teacher today and so often PC gone mad gets in the way.

      Ann

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