Although I knew all the challenges I was about to face once I arrive to my assigned school, I had never imagined that this little word “discipline” it would be my nightmare.
Discipline in all senses. Students that do not study, teachers that do not teach, authorities that do not help when needed, parents which do not worry about sons education. How can I control the contagious immobility from all people around me? I was about to freak out. During my first days in the school I had to deal with students who had never been able to accomplish one single task: doing a homework, making a summary, reading a book, etc. These students were swimming in their gigantic bubble of “there is no consequence if I do not do anything”.
At this point, I learned that it is ok not to do anything. Teachers demand commitment and effort from the students but there is certain number of students that can failed in a subject, there is no number of students to be expelled because of their poor development inside the school. Many other situations which are not under teachers control but that make me feel sometimes as I were fighting alone against all kind of educational politics.
I found interesting Freire´s last letter. All the things that have been worrying me are concerned with this part of the book. I emphasize the values within discipline.
Liberty, which is difficult to manage. The teacher is not the only person who can decides what happens inside the classroom. Students are allowed to do it too and teachers´ work is just to authorize and manage in which situations students´ decision-making is possible.
Liberty without fundaments goes to licentiousness. I remember many occasions in which students do not want to do the homework just because they do not want to. I have said that homework is the students´ opportunity to practice once again their knowledge. And in one of those situations I said to one of my students. –“if you give me a coherent argument about why you do not want to do the homework, It will not be problem or consequence. This students used my words to respond to me –“I do not want to practice my knowledge again in my notebook, I am going to practice my knowledge when it needs to be practiced” A valid argument for him, not for me because my authoritarian brain is telling me he has to do the homework anyway.
Responsibility, respect and democracy that I must show to differentiate what it is wrong and what it is right. Freire talks about the coherent and careful human beings must be with what we say and what we do. Complaining and taking actions with the things we do not agree. Being able to say which things are bothering me and what I am doing to change complains into actions. The more respect examples I show, the more democratic I become.