Inspiration for this blog post brought you by one of the most entertaining forms of ramshackle public debate, FACEBOOK FIGHTS!
Everybody’s seen one, some of us have been a part of one, and the love/hate relationship we have with them is palpable. Now, most of the time these arguments aren’t really “intelligent,” or “enlightening,” or “make even a little bit of sense,” but i still read them. This specific round pf Facebook fisticuffs was sparked by certain politically charged issues that some of my fb friends have strong (and opposing) ideas about. I’m not going to name names or even name issues, because we all know the basic layout of these fights. After going through the comments and trying to understand what exactly the individuals were discussing, i was able to realize how completely and utterly ignorant i am in regards to political issues. Probably not the best way to valdate my blog posts, but still very true. So i read the comments and chuckled to myself about how silly all of these people were being, and kept my mouth shut because i had nothing intelligent to say. Does that really make me any better than the facebook fighters?
This fight perfectly aligned with another one of my fears about teaching. How, if i am not politically savvy, am i going to be able to engage my students in activities and thoughts that will allow them to grow into free-thinking and “contributing” members of society? What categories fall under my responsibility? And how can i incorporate these ideas of free thinking and socratic participation into my content area?
I absolutely realize the importance and the wight that this responsibility carries, but i’m finding it hard to grasp the idea that they fall under my wing. Not solely my wing, of course, but the wings of many other individuals (substitute “arm” in for “wing” if you don’t prefer to think of people as Eagles, like i do). Are my students going to suffer because i don’t know the strategies to use to encourage democratic participation?
That’s not entirely true, i think i do have some basic principles on what strategies will encourage these democratic ideas. An open classroom with an atmosphere and a layout of socratic and free dialogue seems like it would nurture free thinking. A classroom where students can voice their opinions and ask questions without the overwhelming fear and humiliation of being “wrong” is a classroom that could help to encourage students to ask questions about what they want their government to look and act like. But the gap between knowing what these strategies are and actually knowing how to use them is significant.
Should i start looking for more Facebook fights to give me inspiration? Probably not. Instead i might want to brush up on my political jargon and actually be ready to make myself a player in the game before i try to helo my students do the same. Maybe i should try and rhyme more in my blog posts too.
Future students, i hope you’re ready to learn under my massive and socially under my Democratic Socratic socially responsible massive EAGLES WING. But before that happens, i need to trim and pluck a few of my feathers to make sure that i’m ready and able to be the right teacher for my students.