Nothing brings a group together like shouting about how bad another group is. You see it in politics; maybe you’ll start seeing it more often at school. We can start subtly, when we ask first graders, “Didn’t they teach you how to do that in kindergarten?” or “Who was your teacher last year?” Instant bonding. The lacking to the substantial. Belittling previous teachers makes kids think you’re really smart and that they’re lucky to have you, the brightest, best teacher in the whole school. The school that is so much better than that other school could ever be. In a village that is so much better than our village-friend to the north is.
Ironic that we have our first character education assembly this week. Teachers urge children to live a life of good character, to be caring, fair, compassionate, and respectful as we also address how elections work in the United States. We’ve taken the Disney World approach to teaching social studies telling kids that office holders have important jobs to help citizens stay safe and live the best lives they can. That politicians are special helpers in our country and they have those jobs because they have ideas that most people think are good, and then they got the most votes. What a crock.
Character Education during a presidential campaign is probably not a great idea. In the interest of honesty, maybe we could, every four years, teach kids how to be cut-throat, scheming, chess players who are great wordsmiths and even better word warriors. If we follow the lead of our leaders, dirty politics is the only thing that works. I guess if we’re dumb enough to believe what we’re told just because we’re told it, we deserve the presidents we get. Give me a student who annoys me by asking me why over a student who does whatever he or she is told just because I say so. Respect your elders doesn’t really work and probably never has. We hear about so many adult bottom feeders. Respect your elders if they deserve respect is closer, but then one has to do some investigation around that word deserve.
I’m frustrated that we are teaching children about how presidents are elected while at the same time they are seeing on plasma screens at home, how presidents are really elected. It will look to them as though it is through a lot of screaming, booing, clapping on the beat and bad dancing on piling confetti that moves people to attack one, with a vote for another. I’m pretty sure if we held a mock political campaign in our classroom, plenty of phone calls would be made to the office complaining about our teaching methods. I’ll continue the Disney version where everyone is nice, and be very, very glad that I teach little kids.