What should you do if you are a teacher living in this time of crisis?
Let me rephrase that question. I was a teacher-trainer once, and I was briefly a teacher, and now I am a veteran private tutor, so I should ask, what should we do now, during the world’s first climate crisis, a climate crisis that threatens world peace as millions of people are certain to be displaced by violent storms, famines and rising seas? What, moreover, should we do now, during the world’s first global non-communicable disease crisis, a crisis so severe that the majority of people in developed nations do not die of old age but die in accidents or of some disease conveniently blamed on old age or genetics? What should we teachers do in this time when the middle class is dying and half of global wealth is owned by a few dozen multi-billionaire hoarders?
What should we do? First and foremost, we should recognize that if we are following government-designed curricula, we are part of the problem. If we are good, faithful, obedient teachers, then we will, by definition, work to teach students to succeed in the existing unsustainable economy, and we will teach them only the attitude and skills needed to contribute to the unsustainability and injustices of our world. After all, we are not in the business of creating revolutionaries and reformers, are we?
If we can’t believe that we are part of the problem, we join a large company of trained professionals who lived or are living in denial about their guilt.
In the past, doctors working in maternity wards refused to believe that their dirty hands and instruments were infecting patients. Many thousands or possibly millions of people died, even after Doctor Ignaz Semmelweis explained the fatal errors. Doctors were too proud to believe that they might be responsible for killing patients.
Are we too proud to consider the evidence that nothing in our lessons helps students avoid being economically raped by the upper class, reverse the ongoing environmental catastrophe, and prevent the present global illness epidemic?
If we are too proud to admit that we are killing our children’s futures, we join the ranks of modern doctors. They are more prudent and hygienic than past doctors, but the progress of time has not equated with progress for patients. Modern American doctors are responsible for killing over 300,000 patients per year. If we add all the patients who die from chemotherapy and other drugs, the number of medical third-degree murders would be even more holocaust-like. Of course, most doctors refer to this ‘problem’ with the phrase medical malpractice, not third-degree murder. They are too proud to be honest.
What are we educators guilty of? We are guilty of more than we dare imagine. We are guilty of pushing children to be vaccinated without informed consent – and worse, without our knowing all the ingredients in our vaccines, and without ever applying critical thinking skills to the history and use of vaccination. We accept the government’s demands without question – unless, of course, the government demands that we work for less money or makes our career less comfortable and the education system even less acceptable.
We are guilty of misinforming children about the climate crisis and their western diet, and the connection between the two. As scientists have explained, our love of meat and dairy is responsible for a large portion of green house gas production and the majority of deforestation. Additionally, as food animal flesh and cow milk are unnecessary and not very good for humans. The old argument about protein and calcium is simply laughable, as most animals do not need them and the argument that humans are naturally carnivorous and drinkers of cow milk is simply laughable.
We are guilty, too, of working for a system that drives students mad with boredom, frustration and stress, and we refuse to change the system and we support parents and doctors who blame – I mean diagnose – our students, call them ADHD kids, and drug them. Over 6% of American students and similar numbers in Canada are legally drugged because of the education system.
We are guilty of teaching our children to ignore the severity of the crisis we live in, to ignore the fact that the several crises are pushing us towards permanent and universal sickness, debt, war, and extinction.
We are even guilty of training our students to contribute to the crisis. We are training the next generation of health- and environment-destroying doctors, engineers and scientists, for we teach them a form science guaranteed to screw up our environment and our bodies.
We are guilty of teaching our students to trust our political system, – as if professional politicians weren’t always the enemy of the people and the enemy of life.
I could compose a much longer litany of guilt, but let this suffice.
Admitting that we are guilty can be painful and difficult, especially if we’ve been wrong year after year, especially if we enjoy being paid for being wrong, especially if we’ve been working hard at convincing innocent and helpless children to believe all the wrong things. Admitting the truth can be hard. I wasted plenty of time looking for truth. Other teachers don’t even look; they prefer to live in denial and they will be remembered as cowards and the enemies of children, of humanity and of life.
But why focus on the pain involved in changing? Isn’t the status quo painful enough? Or, do we like being disliked, ignored and forgotten by our students? Do we like repeatedly teaching an irrelevant, useless, boring or even dangerous curriculum of bullshit?
If you want to set your desk on fire, buck the system and be truly loved by students, then join me on the quest to create a better world for us and for our children. Join me in striking, protesting, and/or subverting the system by sharing ideas that will awaken the desire for knowledge and ultimately inspire them to take action and fight for life.