Consent Should Matter in Teaching

Children deserve the right to learn what interests them, when they’re ready, when they want to, in the way that works best for them, and without judgement.

When I say anything along these lines, or even just mention homeschooling, I will get teachers telling me, “But I’m passionate about teaching, I love to teach, I adore children”.

Or maybe, “There are lots of amazing teachers out there changing children’s lives every day, you know!”

Or, “Some people would love the opportunity to go to school and learn from teachers, you should be grateful!”

That’s great, but, wanting to teach children is not more important than children’s consent in learning. You don’t get to override children’s rights.

It doesn’t matter if you feel you have a gift for passing on knowledge.

It doesn’t matter if you love to teach and feel that it’s your passion or life’s work.

It doesn’t matter if you think that what you have to share is essential and that every child should know it.

It doesn’t matter that you’ve spent a lot of time and money being educated in the process of teaching.

Loving and being invested in teaching does not magically erase the fact that in our current education system teaching is frequently nonconsensual.

Loving teaching and feeling it is your passion does not override children’s rights.

It’s great you found your passion! Being a teacher is a valid passion! Maybe you have a gift for passing on knowledge. That is a wonderful thing and your talent is important. That can be true at the same time it is also true that children deserve consent in education.

We don’t get to impose our passions on others, no matter how strong they are. Instead, we look for opportunities to share our gift with those who want it.

“To offer something truly freely to another person, to share something with enthusiasm and without attempts at coercion, requires humility. It means you can’t be too invested in the outcome, can’t make it too much about you, because you are offering a gift not a burden.”

Idzie Desmarais


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