Sunday, May 21, 2006

Spanish Spewings

Have you ever been in a class where the teacher constantly wanted to use the class as a platform to spew out his own ideas about anything and everything? If you have, I can empathize. This last year in Spanish I've had a teacher who thinks he's the greatest thing since sliced bread, and he wants to make sure we all know about it, too. He constantly makes comments that have nothing to do whatever with the class or the language (most of them are offensive to me for various reasons which I will explain), and just generally drives me and most of the rest of the class nuts.

One of the first things we did at the beginning of the school year was to have some reading and study about Mexican culture. And - you guessed it. The Catholic and European influence on the area was hardly mentioned except in an extremely negative light, and the innocent victims of their "outrages" were the pagan, human-sacrificing Aztecs! (Our teacher decided to, um, not dwell on the fact that they were, in fact, pagan and human-sacrificing.) I think the basic lesson that we were supposed to learn from our study was how wonderful, happy, nice, and cozy those Aztecs were, and how those Spanish and Catholics were so cruel and tyrannical to try to change their "customs" and convert them to their religion.

A little later into the year, our teacher randomly decided to show us a documentary video describing the main "shrine" of the religion to which he and his family belong, which is located in Israel or somewhere in the near vicinity (I can't remember exactly). I don't recall the name of the religion, because it was a very strange name, but our teacher went into detail about what it teaches. Apparently this religion frowns down on all the rest of us in our respective religions, because we "fight" with each other about which of us has the truth, when what we should do is simply realize that we're all right, and that each different religion with its respective rules and morals is merely a different way of getting to the same goal (sounds to me like religious indifferentism, with a good deal of subjective morality thrown in as well). So basically, it doesn't matter what you believe, because everyone's right (unless, of course, you believe that everyone isn't right. Then you're wrong.). Although our teacher didn't out-and-out push this religion of his on us, he did try to make it look as appealing as possible (certainly much more appealing than those other religions that, heaven forbid, have moral absolutes and say that some people just might be wrong).

The third and last ocurrence happened just last class, and concerned the illegal immigration issue. Our teacher, before the rant "proper", tried to condition us into feeling extremely sorry for all immigrants, legal or not, regardless of their intentions and actions, by reading a story about a Mexican immigrant and the hardships she had suffered. After the reading was over, he turned to the class and gave us such a rant as I've never heard, even from him. The gist of it was this: any immigrant, illegal or not, has just as much "right" to be here as those of us who are citizens, and our white U.S. government (those were his exact words. Anti-white racism, anybody?) was so horrible and cruel to them all because some politicians advocated tighter immigration control and possibly building a fence along the border. Also, none of us really had a "right" to be here because everyone except the native Americans originally came from immigrants (and by the way, wasn't our white U.S. government tyrannically cruel to them [the native Americans] also? Massacres, reservations, etc.). And finally, we as young people almost able to vote had a duty to make sure that anyone and everyone who wanted to could come here legally or not with no consequences at all.

Whew. It was quite a rant. (He even managed to work himself up into tears for some nice emotional effect.) Now, I'm not saying that he was completely wrong about everything that he mentioned, especially concerning the native Americans. There were some really bad things that the government did to them. (However, not all the Indians were innocent, nice little people who lived and let live. Perhaps my teacher hasn't heard of the Custer Massacre. Maybe he is unfamiliar with the Jesuit martyrs and the horrific tortures they underwent at the hands of the Iroquois.) The point is, even if I did agree with what he said, it wouldn't make it right for him to say it in his class. He is trying to get his students to think the way he does. He is using his class as a platform to spread his ideas, with no concern for what the parents might want their children to think and believe. You might expect to find some crazy teachers in a history or maybe an English class (my brothers could give you good examples of that from personal experience) as there could conceivably be controversial subjects discussed there, but the learning of a foreign language is something pretty objective and non-controversial, wouldn't you say? There is no need for the teacher to constantly insert his personal philosophy into a procedure as straightforward as learning Spanish, and his doing so is inappropriate.

I have discovered, luckily, that most of the class doesn't take him seriously anymore, and when "rant-time" comes around we all sit back, relax, and zone out while pretending to pay attention. After one of his little talks, he happened to leave the room for a few minutes, and one of my fellow students spoke up in his absence to say, "Don't you just hate his political correctness?" The general laughter following that remark was enough to prove that yes, everyone else dislikes him as much as I do.

7 Comments:

Blogger Gregaria said...

I'm sorry. I understand your pain. I'm glad no one else takes him seriously. :)

3:16 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

That's just sad. Or hilarious.

8:40 AM  
Blogger the Green Flash said...

Does he rant in Spanish or English?

Yes, I believe you and some of your classmates need to have a little chat with the guy who signs his paycheck.
(He sounds like a Baha'i, a pacifict sect of Islam.)
Ranting like that to a captive audience on controvertial topics irrelevant to the subject (not to mention drawing questionable conclusions based on defective logic--e.g. moral relativism--and presuming to pontificate on them) is truly an outrage.
(If everybody is right and nobody is wrong [about the same important thing] then "right" and "wrong" have no meaning: a logical impossibility. But then again, logic doesn't seem to be part of his "thought" process. Or if right and wrong really don't have any meaning for him, that would render his opinions about other people's morality meaningless too, wouldn't it?)

~ G/F --May 30, '06

8:12 PM  
Blogger Giacomo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Giacomo said...

It does sound like your teacher may be a Bahá'í. Their founder, Bahá'u'lláh, is buried in Bahjí, Israel, and the "Mansion of Bahjí" is a Bahá'í pilgrimage site. They also have a World Center in Haifa.

I suspect that the appeal of Bahá'í for a lot of people is that it teaches that God is essentially unknowable and that all religions are one (thus seeming to fit the "politically correct" agenda). But it is not clear to me that Bahá'í is what p.c.ers are really after. It officially condemns, for example, all forms of extra-marital sex, including homosexuality, and their Universal House of Justice (international authority) is reserved to men alone. How p.c. is that?

Here's an interesting article on the subject from "bahai-library.org".

11:53 AM  
Blogger Sanchez said...

Giacomo and Green Flash, I think you guys got the right name. I couldn't remember, but it sounds familiar to me. In reply to Giacomo, I don't know what his personal views are on homosexuality (thank goodness he hasn't favored us with a description of them), but he has certainly tended toward p.c.-ness in many things he's said (more than what I wrote about in the post).

(By the way, he rants in English...otherwise I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to understand a thing he said.)

10:26 PM  
Blogger Sanchez said...

By the way, I just checked out a web-site about Baha'i with pictures of the World Center, and I can definitely say that it is the same place that the documentary video was showing. So yeah, I guess that's what my teacher is.

10:30 PM  

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