by Craig Holland
Telling them how, not what, to think
How is it that when a person disagrees politically with a teacher, suddenly said teacher is “indoctrinating” students instead of teaching them?
OK, I admit it: I indoctrinated students. I indoctrinated them that their job was being a student. Instead of a check, they got paid every nine weeks with a report card. At the end of four years’ service, they got a “bonus”: a diploma. I indoctrinated them by telling them to consider their “paycheck” an investment account that, once earned, no one could take away from them. I told them a diploma didn’t make them an educated person, but it was evidence of perseverance, and was a step in their lifelong education in Reality 101.
I indoctrinated them to express themselves, both verbally and in their writing, in Standard English, not Ebonics or Spariglish. I indoctrinated them that subjects and verbs must agree, and that double negatives are not acceptable in English, even though they are in Spanish. I insisted that texting shorthand was not acceptable on written assignments, and stressed that! I didn’t give grades, they earned them. (How is it that “I earned an A,” but “the teacher ‘gave’ me an F”?)
I asked them, not necessarily rhetorically, what was going to happen when the Bank of Mom and Dad closes, as it will at some point. They looked at me like I had three heads. All in all, my job was not to tell them what to think, but how to think. Most of the time, I succeeded, and if that is indoctrination, then so be it.
NOTE: Some left-brained university in Connecticut referred to Bakersfield as “the most illiterate mid-sized city in the nation.” Nothing dumber than a “progressive” who refuses to understand free enterprise.