Attention Duxbury teachers: enough unplanned political tangents
By Sarah C. and Arden Y.
Imagine walking into English class one day expecting to read a classic novel or analyze one of Shakespeares’ plays. However, instead of learning about the novel of focus, the teacher decides to have a class-wide political debate. The teacher then proceeds to ask the class to share their political views, then divides them into groups based on who they’d vote for.
After the first block is over, imagine going to your next class, which is history. After expressing your opinion to a friend, the teacher suddenly overhears you and starts to rant in an unexpected outburst about why their opinion is the best and why everyone should vote for their candidate of choice. You leave the class feeling afraid to speak up about your political views because of the fear that your teacher, a person of authority whom you look up to, will lash out and attack your opinion if it’s different than yours.
A situation such as this is not uncommon in Duxbury High School. Almost everyone has a story, a moment, when they could recall a teacher suddenly going off the rails and plunging a class into an unexpected political discussion. This is not to say that political discussions have no place in our high school, in fact, we think that they are extremely crucial to develop opinions and to cultivate debate. However, when a teacher expresses their opinion in the same way they teach, it comes off as intimidating and by not sharing the same opinion the student would be beyond disagreeing, but wrong. It is important to have a dialogue and not to preach. To advocate for a respectful debate and not to hurl insults towards those who disagree. It is important that teachers become aware of how their opinions can come off, sometimes it does not make them seem like the hip progressive teacher or the chill conservative, it makes us feel uncomfortable in sharing our own opinions.
In conclusion, it is important to have political conversations in the classroom so students can learn to respect others’ opinions and express their own. However, it is never okay to put someone down based on their views just because you believe your opinion is superior. Instead of dividing the classroom into one side or the other, it is important to look at all sides of the story and come together to find common ground.