“Once, in the Greek New Testament class on Sundays, taken by the Headmaster, I dared to ask, in spite of my stammering, what some parable meant. The answer Was so confused that I
actually experienced my first moment of consciousness - that is, I suddenly realised that no one knew anything . . . and from that moment I began t o think for myself, or rather knew that I could . . . I remember so clearly this classroom, the high windows constructed so that we could not see out of them, the desks, the platform on which the Headmaster sat, his scholarly, thin face, his nervous habits of twitching his mouth and jerking his hands - and suddenly this inner revelation of knowing that he knew nothing - nothing that is, about anything that really mattered. This was my first inner liberation from the power of external life”. Schumacher, E. F. (1995). A Guide for the Perplexed. Random House., p. 12.
Unfortunately, most of us have a memory like that chronicles Dr. Nicoll, referring to his high school years. Those years are extremely important because we elaborate on the benchmarks that will serve to guide our behavior for most of our lives. And the really sad is that we do not know an answer to our students on the issues that really are worth it. We instruct them in geology, mathematics, history, and even in philosophy and ethics. But finally, and in the best case, all you get is teach them a trade, and not the business of being human beings.
From my experience of many faculty meetings in Secondary Schools, and many evaluation board meetings, I know that we are concerned that our students do not do their homework, they miss class, they sometimes, do not respect the property of others or mistreat their books, they leave the lights on, they stay using whatsapp or teenager networks when class, they run out of time in the halls and leave them full of bags of chips, and... do not study.
By dealing with my students I know they are concerned about loneliness, lack of companionship, family misunderstandings, uncertain job future, shyness, passion, sex, violence, isolation, their parents divorce and much more.
And by mere observation of the general reality surrounding me, I’ve seen many real problems ending up with many of my students unemployed, depressed, in drugs, frustration...
The worst part is when they raise their problems to some teachers: many of them do not know to find the right key to press at the right time, to achieve the best for the life of that student.
Obviously, all generalizations are false, and no one can including the whole secondary school teachers in such a catalogue.
I remember once I took a journalist to give a talk about his work to sophomores in high school. Another teacher was attended the talk. And, unexpectedly, he asked the journalist “shrewdly” this question: "why are there so many scoundrels among journalists? " The answer was so immediate and accurate: for the same reason that there are so many scoundrels among teachers.
So there are very good teachers, good, less good, and bad. And I will not define myself certainly, as the criterion measure of any of these ratings. Here my praise to many colleagues who try to do things the best they can and know.
But, recognized the expertise and welldoing of the faculties, I have to accept that something is not going well when we can find many teenagers at doctor’s or psychologist’s appointment, and when the most funny teenager party has to do -in Spain, with drinking or “rave parties” like recent " Madrid Arena ".
I must admit that since the last fifteen years I have been thinking that there's right and wrong, good and evil, and every of them with sufficiently defined profiles. (It takes all sort, you know).
This ideas, let's face it, forces me to appeal to tolerance of my readers-students, parents and colleagues, to plead for respect and consideration for the opinions or practices I will propose here.
As we all recognize: respect for freedom is not to coerce others to understand it just the way they understand it.; suppose my appeal will not offer too much trouble, and I can move on to take care of my aspirations with this paper.
In short: what I want is to try to answer the questions that matter most to my former high school students. After eight years of professional experience as a Civil Servant Teacher in Spanish State High Schools, I would like something to tell.
It’s tiring to see so many parents coming to visit you crying because they do not know what to do with the studies and the character of their children, sometimes because they do not know what to do with themselves, and it becomes tiring as well to see those children entirely bewildered.
A few years ago, I decided to ask my students what topics they would like to see developed with minimal extension into a book as to buy that book for interest and not compulsorily. As a result, a few reflections were born.
All reflections will have as a starting point that: we all can be normal people. Happiness is possible. Life’s better than death. Best is possible to be done.
Prof. Ortigosa Santiago. Theory of Education Department. Complutense University of Madrid. Spain.