Mar 8, 2006
The Role Of A Teacher
Posted in: Miscellaneous
While you guys are waiting for decisions to be released, here's a topic that I think is worthy of discussion. Normally I don't enter this sort of territory with my blog, but I think it's directly relevant to your age group and the journey towards college. As you guys are among the smartest and most thoughtful high school students in the world, I'm really interested in what you have to say about this.
I'm referring to the story about the teacher in Colorado who was suspended for his remarks in the classroom. No doubt you've heard about it, as it is getting a lot of press - here's one of many examples.
By asking you for your opinions on this I am taking a risk, because this thread CAN'T devolve into a left versus right political debate. It's just not appropriate for an MIT admissions blog, and I'd have to pull it if that happened. It's not that I'm not interested in your political views; this just isn't the right forum in which to discuss them.
So what I'm asking you to discuss is not in regards to the political substance of the teacher's comments. Rather, I'm curious to know what you think about his actions in terms of educating his students. Was the manner in which he got his class fired up appropriate? Do you think he was successful in helping his students to come to their own conclusions? Do you think he was trying to influence them with his own agenda or simply trying to get them thinking?
Again, this teacher was clearly left-leaning but could just as easily have been right-leaning. Therefore this is not a question of politics. It's a discussion about teaching and what's appropriate in the classroom.
The thing that made me angriest about this whole thing was that I kept hearing over and over again - throughout the media's coverage of this - that "16-year-olds are so impressionable that we have to protect them from things like this." Excuse me? Granted it's been a few years since I was 16, but I think 16-year-olds are perfectly capable of thinking for themselves and coming to their own conclusions.
In that light, your words will speak loudest of all, so let's hear them.