The Obstreperous Educator=An Educator Soon Fired
I was recently, in a joking-not-joking manner, called obstreperous by a friend. She was talking about my refusal to call Twitter messages “tweets” (my counter: if they wanted me to call them tweets, they should have called it Tweeter, which, in my mind, makes a whole heck of a lot more sense. I call them Twits, and that is what I feel about Twitter to begin and end with).
My best friend, when I told him this, laughed loudly and extolled how right she was. To him, at times, my standing to my guns, to NOT be controlled, is “wrong”, and has been my “downfall” in more administrative ways then you want to know.
I don’t play the game well, if at all, and this has amounted to a number of times he and others have shaken their heads at me. I truly feel that when a rule or policy is not in the best interest of the students: why do it? “Because I told you so!” or “We’ve always done it that way” just makes me crazy. Those are not answers but symptoms of the larger problem.
McMurphy: But I tried, didn’t I? Goddamnit, at least I did that. (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest)
“To Sir, With Love” is the movie that comes to mind of a teacher/educator who won’t play by the rules, who realizes that to reach some students, you just can’t go with the flow. You have to be stubborn, you have to resist the control of the system. I saw the movie when it came out, and young kid or not, I got into the whole thing. Sure, at first it was because of the song by Lulu that was playing all over the radio, but I enjoyed, even then in 1967 (I was eleven; geez, a lifetime ago), the difference between a teacher who just went through the motions and such to one who fought to get the attention of his students, to go out of his way to care for their future.
Looking back, it’s easy for me to formulate why this movie resonated with me then. I hated school, hated most of my teachers (yeah, really, really hated them), and just zoned out in elementary school as much as I could. I was smart enough to pass along, but not dedicated to what drivel they were handing out. I WANTED a teacher like him, who was interesting, who would make me sit up and learn, not be made to feel like a nothing, like I felt most of the time under the gaze of disapproving teachers. I wanted this teacher.
Don’t you want a teacher who will fight to do what is right for your child, or even if you don’t have school age children (or any at all)? Don’t you want our future leaders and everyday people to have an education that will benefit them, which in turn will benefit the world? Don’t you want to entrust our lives-the children are our lives-to people who care as opposed to waiting to get tenure, who only wait for the weekends, only for vacation and summer breaks, and then wait to retire?
I guess what I’m asking here is: fight for the right to have educators who are obstreperous for the students, and any who come under their gaze.