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Teachers As Role Models?

category louth | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Sunday March 07, 2004 14:21author by Sean Crudden - IMPEROauthor email sean at impero dot iol dot ieauthor address 5 Anglesea Terrace, Greenore, Co Louthauthor phone 087 9739945 Report this post to the editors

Are Role Models Really Necessary?

At a recent debate on education held in The Fairways Hotel attended by a few hundred teachers and parents, et al - including Minister for Education, Noel Dempsey, the function of teachers as role models received heavy emphasis. In particular some of the teacher/speakers (men) seemed to think they were of vital importance as role models for young boys.

Everyone remembers that scene from the old James Cagney movie where he breaks down deliberately just before he is led to the gas chamber. A bad guy with a heart of gold he does not want to give an example of defiance to the kids who may know him.

In later years Kurt Cobain was thought of as a powerful role model for the younger generation and parents and adults had great misgivings about this.

Other people may be able to think of other “role-models” and, indeed, not all of them are taken from the lives of the saints – although a saint that always appealed to me was Blessed (now Saint) Martin of the Lepers.

Anyway talk of role-models proliferated and multiplied at the public consultation forum in the Fairways on Tuesday ( 2 March 2004) about education policy. The Minister for Education, Noel Dempsey TD, was present; Joe Duffy of RTE facilitated and chief among the other notables present was Dr Garret Fitzgerald – looking well.

What with one-parent families and all some of the (male) teachers present and speaking asserted that they were frequently the first male “role-model” some students encountered and then only at the age of 12 or 13. This resulted from the fact that most primary school teachers are women.

Is this an important issue? Or was the attendance at the meeting being too gullible in accepting the arguments of a few assertive and self-congratulatory male teachers?

I don’t know any sensible person – teacher or otherwise – who would dare to set themselves up and consider themselves role models for the young or anyone else - although it is clear to me that humility is a virtue which is honoured more in the breach than the observance by this generation of adults.

If education means anything then I think that parents and teachers should encourage their charges to be themselves and to think for themselves and pay only a sceptical regard to so-called “role-models.”

When I was young in the 1950’s the description “copy-cat” was a term of revilement.

Related Link: http://www.iol.ie/~impero/
author by Sean Cruddenpublication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 14:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Fairways Hotel is situated a few short miles to the south of the town of Dundalk.

author by Christy Kellypublication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 14:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dunno about you, but the teachers I had were all members of religious orders, and the male ones (christian brothers) were not "good role models". They were like a bunch of psychos.
I'm sure the more modern secular male teachers could never be as crazy as they were.

author by :-)publication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 14:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Xian Brothers
Arnie Shwarzenegger
David Bekkkkkham and his lovely wife Victoria
father dougal
martin mc guinness
Gandhi - Ben Kingsley version.
toussaint l'ouverture
linford christie
christie burke
eoin rice
edmund rice
edmund burke
milan kundera
Dr Spock
Mr Spock
Captain Pitard
oh it's very difficult learning how to be a boy isn't it?

author by Grey Blockerpublication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 15:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You forgot those other influences:
John Wayne (now I'm showing my age)
Liam Lawlor (ethical values!)
Charlie Haughey (How to become a chancer)
John Charles McQuaid (Help!)
Dan Dare "Pilot of the Future" (Gawd, I AM showing my age!)
Roy Rodgers (Mr Clean - too clean to be credible)
(Trigger was probably a better role model - than any of them)

author by Deirdre Clancypublication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 15:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'd like to know more about what was actually said about education policy itself, if anything.

It also strikes me that if teachers were pushing their own importance, it may have been because the Minister has been so dismissive of them and their concerns in the not too recent past. Things have to be taken in context.

Kids choose their own 'role models' and have a multiplicity of them through childhood and adolescence. It would be true to say, though, that teachers can have a profound affect on a child's sense of self, even if the child doesn't regard them as role models.

If morale is low among teachers due to bad pay and working conditions, it's going to affect kids. There are schools in Dublin that are collapsing, literally, and structually unsound. Maybe this is something Noel Dempsey ought to think about. There are some great teachers out there, and there are some mediocre and poor ones (in my own experience of schooling and from hearing from kids and teachers who are close to me). The only way to attract more high calibre individuals into the teaching profession is to ensure that they are treated properly and respected, in terms of pay and conditions. At the moment, this is not the case.

author by -publication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 15:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Boys Brigade
Sly Stalone
Vinne Jones and your girlfriend
father ted
ken maginnis
Gandhi - fringe theatre version.
toussaint l'ouverture
Cormac McAnallen
stephen Hawkings
ed horgan
easier to be a girl?
yes we ought ensure they all grow up big girlies instead. safer option.

manners maketh man.

author by Mary Jpublication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 15:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What gets me are these loudmouthed 'Football Coaches' who seem to think that roaring abuse at young boys is a way to teach. Its about time that we began keeping these morons away from impressionable young minds.

author by Feckerpublication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 15:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Father Jack - now theres a real role model.

author by :-) - dan dare club.publication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 16:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

great respect for the disabled me, Christy Burke, Stephen Hawkins, Leonardo da Vinci, Beethoven, Toullouse Latrec, and the mekon.

It is a cliché but it's true, that we don't really recognise special needs, or attention span deficiency or exceptionally slow or exceptionally quick learners. And that is a terrible waste.

we always meet again. Mr Bond /Mr Dare/ Mr Flint. Becuase we don't really expect you to die. Now if you don't mind it's sunday and there's cat to stroke and a brush to sing into :-)
we always meet again. Mr Bond /Mr Dare/ Mr Flint. Becuase we don't really expect you to die. Now if you don't mind it's sunday and there's cat to stroke and a brush to sing into :-)

author by Firewomanpublication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Generally going insane from low pay and the total lack of discipline in schools.I've known whole classes to up and leave just for the hell of it, students physically attack teachers etc. And thats in a nice quiet country scool with a good reputation.
Teenagers are evil subtle people who have perfected the art of torturing their elders. Not that I lot of teachers don't deserve it, I've been guilty of it myself (probably gave my busdiness teacher the heart atack he had).

It has to be said that most of the teachers coming into schools these days are young and enthusiastic about their subjects. They deserve some credit for the pretty much thankless work they do. They are not there to be role models, they are hired to teach particular subjects. They may choose to see their role as mentors of the young, but the responsibility should not be forced upon them.

author by Paul Kinsella - Variouspublication date Sun Mar 07, 2004 22:58author email paulkinsella53 at yahoo dot comauthor address 53 Lorcan Grove, Santry, Dublin 9, Eireauthor phone 085-1478100Report this post to the editors

A very sweeping statement don't you think "Firewoman"? You've no right to condemn all teenagers like that. Punishing everyone for the sins of a few, that's a real Fianna Failure policy.

author by Terrypublication date Mon Mar 08, 2004 01:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For those of you interested in the origin and nature of the compulsory school system and how it was designed from the start to dumb us down and make us serville, check out any number of essays by John Gatto

John Gatto himself was a former teacher for 30 years in New York and taught in both the richest and poorest neighbourhoods over that time. He got Teacher of the Year award at least once and he has produced a number of very interesting and thought provoking essays.

During his time teaching, he began to question the whole basis of the schooling or so-called 'education' system and this brought him to investigate how it all started and to go back to some of the original documents and decisions.

See for example: Against School

More essays at the related linkl

He also wrote the famous book: The Underground History of American Education
See for example: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/

By the way, most of you may notice that over the doorway of almost every public library in Ireland is the name Carnegie. Most of these libraries were built in the early part of the 20th century. Carnegie was one of the wealthiest industrialist at the time in the USA and poured huge amounts of money into education. However it was not for benign reasons as it allowed institutes controlled by him and his associates to dictate the shape of education, in terms of what was taught and how and the content of the syllablus. He cleary had great influence behind the scenes in Ireland too for why else did he fund the construction of so many libraries. Therefore what Gatto has to say is very much relevant to us here in Ireland.

Related Link: http://www.spinninglobe.net/gattopage.htm
author by firewomanpublication date Sat Mar 13, 2004 22:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I go to school in this country. Yes the system is designed to make us servile. We rebel and go for the only people we can, the teachers. OK evil was pushing it I am a teenager and don't consider myself to be the servant of the dark lord. All I was trying to point out was that sometimes teachers get the blame for the system. Any teachers I've really got to know hate the way their courses are structured.

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