Friday, February 7, 2014

A Real Educational System

So I've been teaching English at a junior high school in Japan. The difference is uncanny. The teachers aren't even allowed to yell at the kids here. I love that. And the kids can laugh as much as they want in class and are even encouraged to, and teachers often join right in. I love that too! And there is no sending anyone to the office. God, that's so stupid; that tactic is all about fear; that's it. There is no rebellion by any of the students, for there is nothing to rebel against. They are being educated in a way so as to be erudite, polite, cheerful and well-mannered human beings, and it WORKS!

I went to so many different schools growing up. I always found the abrasiveness and actual bullying and fear-mongering by the teachers and principals to be absolutely appalling – so many stories of actual hatred towards children: pure unadulterated abuse of power. Like, for instance, when I was in grade four, our teacher hated us to the very core and would talk down to us in the most deplorable, mean-spirited manner – a true harridan – making us feel so much smaller than we already were. And the grade threes, who were next to our class, had a teacher that was always belittling them and us whenever he got the chance, putting us down, shouting at us – for anything and everything (it could have been for the way we walked or dressed) – once making fun of one of my classmates, Suzie, for being fat, actually ridiculing her in front of everyone, both classes combined! What a sick man. He was absolutely terrifying. I remember one of his students in particular whom he'd always be insulting, chastising and censuring in front of everyone, calling him an idiot, stupid, a bullshitter, etc., often grabbing him by the scruff of his neck so hard and pushing him down the hallway like he was an animal and not a human being whom his parents and society had entrusted him with to teach.

I'll never forget grade one either, a few years before that at a different school – a Catholic school – and my grade one teacher absolutely despising me because I couldn't pay attention in class (I have ADHD but wasn’t diagnosed for it till age 18!), and she would ridicule me in front of everyone because she'd have to re-explain things to me – her job!! She detested me, even telling me inappropriate, condescending things about my mother once when no one was around. I was six years old, for fuck sakes! Hell, she even once started ostracizing me out of the blue for how my shorts looked - like WTF?!?! I remember in grade six, at yet another school, how we'd get in so much trouble just for laughing. The vast majority of the time it was just for laughing that we'd get thrown out of class or sent to the principal's office—just for a goddamn chuckle even, sometimes just for smiling at someone. It felt like a prison.

When my little cousin was in grade 4, going to that aforementioned Catholic school that I had gone to years prior, the library teacher, for no good reason (as if there could be a good reason for something as heinous as this), one time ferociously lifted him up in the air and pinned him against the wall with his right arm against his neck, choking my cousin while his feet dangled off the ground. My cousin told his dad, and his dad came and told off the library teacher, the principal and my cousin's homeroom teacher for allowing this kind of violent, abusive crap to go on. And when his dad left, the principal, the library teacher and the homeroom teacher took my cousin to the back and started reprimanding him for all the trouble he had caused by telling his father what happened!!! They're like a freakin’ mafia, eh?! I mean, how sick is that? It’s hard to believe.

Oh, and high school’s absolutely awful, isn’t it, at least for a lot of us North Americans? My worst experience was my grade 12 law teacher always maligning and trying to humiliate me in class, usually refusing to even give me a chance, even with a really good presentation that I was doing, and which I put so much work and time into (more so than anyone had on that assignment), just because he had a serious, unprecedented bias against me for having dared to disagree with him on a couple of things long before that. Talk about a grudging egomaniac! My god, he was such an unprofessional fucking cunt, so acrid and sardonic! Mr. Spenceley, FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE!!! You shouldn't be a teacher, because you’re not one! I got a Master's Degree three years ago, and I can teach circles around you, you fuckin' bully!!

It’s all so messed up . . .

The students are so happy here in Japan, though, so happy to be at school and to be alive, always smiling and having fun, calling my name, waving and saying "hello" and "goodbye" to me whenever they see me, welcoming me so graciously from the very beginning, like a big family. It warms my heart to experience this, and I'm so grateful – especially since it gives me hope, all the while reaffirming my beliefs on how rotten both the Catholic and public school systems are in North America (I experienced both) . . . rotten to their very core. Too many ugly stories that happened to me, my friends and family members in schools all across Toronto, and I'm not going to go on and on and on here, giving disturbing examples. There's no need. I've said enough. It makes me so sick when I think about it. Sometimes I wish I could just get selective amnesia and call it a day!

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