Saturday, May 02, 2009

School before self

As I write, I'm sure the riot police are donning their full riot gear and headed down to Suntec City. These riot police are probably muttering under their breath about women and their petty whatevers and making them burn their weekend.

Why am I not at Suntec? Why am I not making my vote count to get rid of the Bible-bashing women activists? Well, if I were a member of AWARE before this clown show started, I would but for me to join up now would be just replicating what this new bunch did and endorsing their way of making themselves heard. And much as I want them to go back to church, I don't want to use their weapon of choice.

In the last week, the impact of Josie and her pussycats have hit home. It's made me think about where I stand as a parent and where I stand as a teacher and a larger member of society. As a parent, of course I worry that my kids get taught things in school that are not in accordance to the values that I hold true and wish to raise my children with. Of course, as a parent, I fear that my children will be sexually groomed in some way (either homosexually or heterosexually) and we don't find out about it till it is too late. But are these fears sufficient enough to warrant a dial back to the days of yore where children got stoned at the city gates for disobeying their parents?

If I gave in to these fears and concerns and allow this new bunch of people to use a secular organization as their scare-mongering, bully pulpit, I would also be allowing them to restrict what we can teach in school. As is, schools have been targeted for teaching gender issues in an impartial manner, which is to say that we teach students that alternative sexuality exists and that these are people who face struggles, some of which are similar to what heterosexuals face and others which are harder to fight because they are born out of discrimination and prejudices. We do not teach them that it is right to be gay but we teach them not to judge those who decide to be gay. Why do we do this?

Because our responsibility is to teach them to see things in an impartial manner whatever the issue. We teach them that they can take a passionate stand but they must also be able to see where the other side is coming from. And only in that way can they make a coherent argument. The students that excel in my subject are the ones that are able to articulate a mature argument about any given subject, sexuality and gender issues included. This means they need to be aware of all the arguments. Be aware of all the controversies and be able to make sense out of it. How are they to do that if the day comes when we are not allowed to teach them some arguments because it offends the sensitivities of a powerful some who have generalised their views as the right view to take?

It has begun in schools. Emails have been circulated. Aghast emails about what is taught in the classroom, outrage that we dare to expose kids who are about old enough to serve the nation and die for the nation to alternative lifestyles and the likes. This slippery slope is an extremely steep one and the end will come fast and quick. And when it comes, these yokos better not blame us for sending their darlings into the exam with nothing in the pretty heads because that's what's going to happen. Censor gender issues, next will be abortion, euthanasia, gambling, stem-cell research, terrorism and it goes on and on till there's nothing left.

By then, we'll be out of a job although by then, all the money in the world wouldn't be able to keep us from staying on. It really wouldn't be what we signed up for when we decided that teaching was our vocation. And that's where it will head with Josie and her pussycats. And that's why, even though I am a parent first and a teacher second, I'm putting my foot down.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:43

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