I’ve been on pause here because school has picked up and I’m just doing my best to stay ahead of the game so that when I want to be lazy I can be lazy.
Let’s call today Scaredy-Caturday, though, because I’m gonna tell you this:
I’m a little scared of being a teacher.
I say this because I’ve been raised all my life to be clear about what I believe in and who I believe in.
However as I’m in education now and am a teacher, there are a lot of things I shouldn’t express about my own personal views. If you’re a working professional, this probably seems painfully obvious to you. There are things we simply don’t, or at least shouldn’t, talk at length about in the public domain, and this public domain includes the Internet: religion, sex and politics aren’t professional subjects to discuss in any staff room. As teachers, our views on any controversial or deeply personal subject shouldn’t be made known because that can also hinder our students’ exploration of the issue at hand.
Yet there are still statements that are socially acceptable and are even toted as “the right thing” that border on the oppression of other people’s personal beliefs. As fair as we try to be, we can never be accepting of every one at the same time. We can listen without arguing back or imposing our own views on others but if one withholds an immediate embracing of the other they risk being labelled as narrow-minded, discriminatory or judgmental, as if the person who wants to be embraced is not being exactly the same thing by refusing the “judgmental” person’s views. To call someone judgmental is to be judgmental yourself, is it not? (And yes, this reasoning makes me a judgmental person, too.)
In the face of my recent classes, where I am told to accept everyone in my classroom, there arises a certain dilemma then. I can certainly love every one of my students to the best of my abilities. And I can certainly teach them how to be critical thinkers about the world around them, and to learn how to learn, and to communicate with each other for a greater mutual understanding of the community in which they exist. But do I communicate what I think is right and wrong? Doing so would result in sounding on my own views and border on the unprofessional.
The more I think about this, the more I think that perhaps communicating what I think is not important. I am beginning to think that teaching will be a greater exercise of faith than ever I have encountered. As a teacher my job is to equip but not to command; rather it is to trust in my students’ abilities, in the incredible mental, emotional and physical potential that I know all youth have. And moreover my job is to trust too in a God who loves everyone the same to work in their lives in a way that suits them. But ultimately my job as a human here is not to condemn but to teach towards hope, towards grace, and towards love.