Sometimes a tired candle needs just a small caffeine hit to get that flame burning again. That teacher should be able to go to the staff room and use the vending machine to get herself a soft drink, right? Wrong. Why? “Because it’s setting a bad example for the kids”.
Personally, I think it’s setting a bad example for kids to be dishonest. To pretend that we don’t, on occasion, enjoy sugary treats and the odd afternoon nap and other small “naughty” indulgences.
After all, did prohibition stop people from drinking alcohol? Ah, nope! Many would argue that by taking things away from people, in fact, they only want it more. That fences and barriers just encourage children to rebel against the restrictions.
(This is certainly what is implied in the lyrics of Pink’s song, “Leave me alone (I’m lonely)” which inspired the title for this post.)
Is it our job to teach about health and wellbeing? Absolutely. We have certain responsibilities. We are accountable.
But, as Cook, Pachler & Bachmair (2011) put it, “schools are on the one hand a moulding feature of social and individual life; on the other, they are undergoing a transformation as a result of changes in the world at large towards individualisation, mobility and convergence.” (p 181).
So, I don’t think a well-rounded education, which reflects this transformation, would involve the encouragement of children to bury their heads in the sand; to avoid any possible exposure to “negative influences”.
There are also conservative thinkers who advocate for the banning of certain books. Any books that attempt to deal with controversial affairs. Issues that we would rather our children not know about.
Instead of attempting to navigate the blurry lines and complexities of moderation and balance, we instead inflict blanket bans and rob youth of an education for the real world.
Here I would argue that these decisions are more selfish than altruistic.
We aren’t “protecting” young people. We just don’t want to have to shoulder the responsibility of addressing and dealing with topics that make us uncomfortable. We want to keep our candle light small and manageable.
But these are the very subjects, and objects, that go viral through social media and popular culture because young people are desperately searching for an arena where they can ask their questions, speak their mind, explore the world around them freely. To discover their truth. Without censorship.
How do you shine a high beam light on an idea? Promote its absence from the curriculum, rather than its inclusion. The frenzy created by the “not knowing” will guarantee its popularity.
Want to, instead, show students where to look without telling them what to see?
Then don’t hide things. In fact, don’t hide anything.
Cook, J., Pachler, N. & Bachmair, B. (2011). Ubiquitous mobility with mobile phones: A cultural ecology for mobile learning. E-Learning and Digital Media 8(3), 181-195.
If you’d like to receive every new blog post straight into your email inbox each morning, click FOLLOW below 👇