I sit at my daughter’s desk, greeting the other parents sitting in the classroom.
I try to contort my legs under the locker, with a lot of grimacing, to no avail.
I adopt a crooked posture and face the teacher.
She begins her well-practiced presentation, with a video projector.
Beyond the speech and the instructions, what interests me is to test the water … of the place, of the other parents, and of course of the teacher.
My daughter will spend a good part of her time with her, I would like to get a feel for it.
I’m not a fan of the current school system, I’ve already talked about the beginning of the school year here, but it’s not always easy to do in a different way.
So I listen to the presentation unfold as I observe.
“I’m a manipulator.”
What? Did I hear that right?
She explains a bit more, saying that she “manipulates” children to succeed in their learning by giving some examples.
I tick a little, thinking that she made a perhaps quick choice of term but, no, she uses it several times…
I don’t feel anything bad about her, but I have serious doubts about using manipulative techniques to educate children and teach them discernment.
The teacher continues her explanation of her pedagogical approach and indicates at one point, with a little pride, that in front of the pupil, especially in a negotiation, she “wins every time”.
Again, I cringe.
There’s something about that, it’s not possible.
Again, what are we trying to teach the children?
That there is always a winner and a loser? That they will always lose to the adult? to some form of authority? That they can never win?
I try not to roll my eyes, I don’t share this approach or at least what I understand of it.
I can imagine that being a teacher is not an easy job and that the whole educational system would have to be reviewed, with a little (a lot) of personal and even spiritual development… that would do everyone a world of good.
Again, this is not mean in itself, and in front of the parents, I understand that she wants to take her place and defend it.
I take a deep breath and look at what’s in the locker at the teacher’s request.
I open a set of index cards and find a treasure map with a map of France.
I tick again on the map, the city of Besançon appears … twice ! Once in its place, and once in the place of Mulhouse!
I try to find the instruction, maybe I have to find the error or the intruder, but no, nothing like that.
I hope it’s not a mistake because that would be really too big.
The teacher continues and a few minutes later:
“Anyway, I told them [the students] I was always right!”.
I let out a huge sigh of annoyance inside.
My ego reacts immediately and wants to show her the map of France with the two cities of Besançon!
Here again, what do we want to teach the students?
That they should never make mistakes? That the teacher / the future leader / the authority in general is always right?
One of the principles of learning is to make mistakes
- trial and error,
- trial and error,
- trial and error,
- trial and success!
You only have to watch a child learn to ride a bike to realize this.
If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn.
If you think you are always right, you never question yourself.
Again, this doesn’t sound like a big deal, and she seems very creative in teaching in a fun way with some very good ideas, but beyond the educational content, there are values around it, principles that are important, at least to me.
I hesitate to make a comment but I know that the situation does not lend itself to it at all, and my ego is content to consider a possible individual meeting…
Then come the practical questions, especially for the birthday cakes!
The teacher says that it’s not worth bringing candles because she won’t use them anyway, she’s too afraid that something will happen …
And then everything suddenly becomes clear.
She is afraid, deeply.
Not just of the candles, but of a situation getting out of hand, whatever it may be.
And that’s why she has a whole bunch of strategies in place, with the manipulation, I’m the one who “wins every time” and “I’m always right”.
These strategies are designed to keep control of situations with students and also with parents who often want to have control over their children as well…
This is the teacher’s way of functioning, this is how she has grown to apprehend life, following her experiences since she was very young, most probably.
But wanting to control Life is a waste of time.
Life is always right! 🙂
And the day when Life will want to show her these deep fears so that she transcends them, all these strategies of control will not be sufficient and will collapse.
But this is her path.
In the meantime, the only thing to do is to send her loving thoughts and to remind my daughter of some principles of discernment and the right to make mistakes…