Teachers Worry “Dangerous” Parents Might Overhear Classroom Discussions

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The response to the global pandemic has led to many schools in America offering or requiring students to “school at home” with online instruction, including video teaching from the students’ usual teacher(s). Well, according to some teachers on a Twitter thread that has since been hidden, the ability of parents and others to overhear the teacher’s instruction could be “damage[ing].”

Reportedly, Matthew Kay, an educator and author of a book on the topic of “how to lead meaningful race conversations in the classroom,” recently tweeted,

So, this fall, virtual class discussion will have many potential spectators—parents, siblings, etc.—in the same room. We’ll never be quite sure who is overhearing the discourse. What does this do for our equity/inclusion work?

How much have students depended on the (somewhat) secure barriers of our physical classrooms to encourage vulnerability? How many of us have installed some version of “what happens here stays here” to help this?

While conversation about race are in my wheelhouse, and remain a concern in this no-walls environment—I am most intrigued by the damage that “helicopter/snowplow” parents can do in the host conversations about gender/sexuality. And while “conservative” parents are my chief concern—I know that the damage can come from the left too. If we are engaged in the messy work of destabilizing a kid’s racism or homophobia or transphobia—how much do we want their classmates’ parents piling on?

Apparently, many other teachers chimed in on the post, some disgusted with Kay’s comments, others supporting them and offering ideas on how teachers can cope with parents listening in on instruction:

  • One teacher said she’d also been “thinking about” the problem Kay described, and had decided that she’d ask students about their preferred pronouns via survey—though she still worries that “caregivers” might see it and learn something about their children that they weren’t supposed to know.
  • Another teacher said that students last semester would sometimes “type secrets into the chat” whenever the discussion turned to “anti-racism and gender inclusive content.”
  • A ninth-grade teacher shared in the commiseration, saying that her class required students to “read and respond to a news article,” but that participation in this exercise is stunted now because “outsiders” [i.e., parents] are “listening.”
  • A teacher with pronouns listed in her Twitter handle said that she plans to use the chat function more than voice lectures because she wants children to share “information” with her in a “parentless way.”
  • A science teacher agreed with all of the sentiments expressed here and summarized it bluntly: “Parents are dangerous.”
In this view, parents are the enemy, and secular teachers, armed with a radical worldview that opposes the Bible, are the ones who can properly guide, nurture, instruct, and, really, brainwash these children in the way they should go.

“Parents are dangerous.” Increasingly those who hold to a secular worldview see children as wards of the state—to be indoctrinated with secular ideology and shielded from negative influences of parents and, particularly, parents’ personal beliefs. In this view, parents are the enemy, and secular teachers, armed with a radical worldview that opposes the Bible, are the ones who can properly guide, nurture, instruct, and, really, brainwash these children in the way they should go. Now, we’re not saying every teacher is like this. There are some Christian teachers who see themselves as “missionaries” in the education system. However, some public school teachers have spoken to me in recent times to let me know their hands are becoming so tied they have had to really examine if they should remain in that system.

Writing for the Daily Wire, conservative commentator Matt Walsh brings up three excellent points in regard to the kind of thinking reflected in this Twitter thread. First, “classrooms are certainly not ‘safe places’ for children to be ‘vulnerable.’” They are filled with “suffocating” pressure to conform to the “values and opinions of peers”—that’s one reason why there’s an epidemic of suicides among young people.

Secondly, “an adult keeping a secret with a child, and helping the child conceal that secret from his parent .   is acting in a way that is nothing short of predatory.” Teachers don’t have some sort of license to act this way just because they are a teacher because, thirdly, a public school teacher “is not supposed to be, and should not try to be, educator, parent, shaman, spiritual guide, therapist, friend, confidant, and sex counselor, all rolled into one.” He or she is supposed to be just a teacher—not an evangelist for the secular worldview and atheism. But, sadly, public schools have, by and large, become temples of atheism with many of the teachers as their priests (although, as stated earlier, there are still Christian teachers as missionaries in the increasingly pagan system).

Children are not wards of the state—they have been entrusted by God to parents to train and instruct in the way they should actually go, following God and his Word.

Children are not wards of the state—they have been entrusted by God to parents to train and instruct in the way they should actually go, following God and his Word. We must fight against the thinking seen in this Twitter thread that argues the state knows better than parents and has the right to indoctrinate children in a secular, naturalistic worldview.

If your children will be receiving online instruction this year (or if they are homeschooling or using any other method of schooling), be sure to listen in on what the teachers are telling your children. Flip through their textbooks, ask them questions, view the assignments—you might just be surprised by what you hear!

Don’t just assume they are learning “reading, writing, and arithmetic” in their courses—teachers, schools, and textbooks aren’t neutral! Your children are actively building their worldview and they need their parents to disciple them, starting from the foundation of the Word of God. No matter your chosen method of schooling, be on top of shepherding your child, having conversations about what they are learning and, above all, comparing everything you read or hear—no matter the source—against the authority of the Word of God. Parents have a responsibility to make sure they know everything being taught to their children that might influence them in the wrong way.

Get More Answers on Answers News

I discussed this item today on Answers News cohosts Dr. Georgia Purdom and Bodie Hodge. Answers News is our weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum and broadcast on my Facebook page and the Answers in Genesis Facebook page. We also covered the following topics:

  • A crocodile with teeth the size of bananas?
  • Do monkeys and the discovery of fire have anything to do with each other?
  • Math—the new oppressor.
  • And more!

Watch the entire episode of Answers News for August 17, 2020.

Be sure to join us each Monday and Wednesday at 2 p.m. (ET) on my Facebook page or the Answers in Genesis Facebook page for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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