Don't raise our kids to be obedient

By An Tu   May 15, 2023 | 04:00 pm PT
Don't raise our kids to be obedient
Children learn to plant a tree at a school in Hanoi, September 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
In the name of education, we are bullying children at school, and at home, without realizing it or admitting it.

Adults tend to impose standards and mindsets from the adult world onto children. We demand that children think, act, and live upon those standards. We would turn our children into people who comply with any demand and accept any treatment they get.

As a teacher, I was terrified recently reading about a high school teacher in northern Vietnam cutting her student’s hair in front of the whole class as a punishment for her dying it.

I was especially terrified seeing the girl standing their folding her arms, in total acceptance.

Education by bullying does not only cause mental and physical damage to a child, but also accidentally builds up their tolerance for bullying and violence, until they see it as a solution to any problem.

They will become adults who lack self-esteem and accept bullying – or they will become adults who bully others.

I recently had an online class with a Vietnamese student who was very well-mannered. I think she was even too well-mannered because I think she was a little bit scared of me, a superior.

Though I am disturbed by how American students are often disrespectful to their teachers, I am not comfortable with students looking up to their teachers as gods.

Education needs to find a balance point, where teachers and learners respect each other, and there’s no unconditional obedience.

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