Politics in the Classroom

I am deeply troubled and saddened by the posts I see from some of my fellow martial artists and public school teachers promoting their political views in a mean and hateful way all over social media. This is in direct conflict to what we, as educators, profess to teach on the classroom floor.

As martial arts instructors, you teach respect and courtesy on the mat, then turn it around and promote hate on Facebook?

As public school educators, you teach inclusion and anti-bullying in the classroom, then tell the world how much you hate the administration or a particular party?

This is a clear lack of integrity in the textbook sense of the word.

INTEGRITY: the quality of being whole or undivided, honesty, purity – a person has integrity when their thoughts, words, and deeds are completely whole in every situation.

ANTONYMS: incompleteness, dishonesty, deceit – a person lacks integrity when their words and actions are divergent or they act differently when in different situations.

To teach love and respect in the classroom, then preach hate and disguise it as social justice and activism in social media shows two faces. Don’t think that your students and their parents won’t see right through it.

I love and respect all humanity, both sides of the aisle. I do have strong opinions about topics such as the economy, environment, war, relationships with other nations, taxes, social justice, and more. What I promise I will never do is allow my opinions to influence my teaching or bring politics into my classroom. That does a disservice to students, detracts from the value of real learning, and degrades your ability to be effective as a teacher.

To be crystal clear here, I did not vote for Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton, or Mr. Trump, so I am not disguising this post as way to show sympathy for the administration. You simply will not find me posting hateful rhetoric ,or ‘liking and sharing’ any of it either.

From a business standpoint, allowing your political ideology to be present in the martial arts classroom drives student away who don’t believe the same as you. While public school teachers may not care as much, since you have a captive audience, you should always be aware that your primary focus is to teach and remain professional at all times, not to impress your own political agenda on the next generation.

So, what’s the solution? If you have strong political views and feel the need to cover the internet with them, be very careful who is in your friends list and how your privacy settings are managed. Make sure people cannot share your posts with those you wouldn’t want reading them. Stick to your lesson plans and keep your opinions out, unless you are teaching a political science class or conducting a debate.

If you feel the need to make a public statement, I fully support that. Do it where it does the most good. Write your congressperson. Donate to a cause. Join a political action group. Get out on the street and make your voice heard at a meaningful, legal, and non-violent protest.

Of course, if it is your desire to share your views with the entire world and sway as many people as possible to your cause, then I would suggest you are naive in that pursuit. Very little can be done in a meaningful way from the cheap seat behind the laptop.

As always, you are welcome to disagree with me or unfriend me. You have that freedom.

If you found value in this little rant, please share.



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