School is a part of everyone's life at some point or another. Whether you only went to high school, junior high, or to college, it is something that everyone has done at some point. I have been in school for most of my life, so far, and during that time I have had a variety of teachers. Some of the teachers I had encouraged me to think on my own, and some required me to memorize vast amounts of data in order to reproduce that data on tests. Which teachers I learned the most from is hard to say. But I do know that I have always thought teachers are people who hold absolute power over you, after all they hold the key to whether you pass or fail. Because of this, I don't think I have ever been absolutely truthful in anything I have ever said in a paper or class discussion, because I was worried it wouldn't be what the teacher wanted me to say. Is this fair? Is this what the relationship should be between teachers and students should be? Should students feel so overwhelmed by the power that teachers hold, that they can't stand up for what they believe or what they feel? If not, then what can teachers do to get rid of this issue of power, and encourage students to really speak their mind freely? Or can a teacher have both power and the ability to get their students to freely speak their mind?
In Lynne Cheney's essay PC:Alive and Entrenched, she talks about the relationship between students and teachers, and how teachers use their power to push their own beliefs and ideas. She states various examples of how teachers in freshman English composition classes, use this class to push their own feminist beliefs. A quote from a student stated, "My professor......is a feminist and she incorporates her ide...
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...ive and take relationship, with the students playing as important of a role as the teachers. Often I got to classes only to find half the students talking or sleeping or not participating in class. I can imagine this would be frustrating to a teacher who is actually trying to teach. The teacher/student relationship is much like a friendship or romantic relationship, it doesn't work if both people don't put an effort into it. If both parties participate, and put their all into it, then teachers will be able to teach and students will learn.
Cheney, Lynne. "PC:Alive and Entrenched."The Presence of Others. Eds. Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz. New York:St. Martins Press, 1997
Zawodniak, Christian. "Teacher Power, Student Pedagogy." The Presence of Others. Eds. Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz. New York:St. Martins Press, 1997
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