This I Believe

jessica - ventura, California
Entered on June 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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This I believe Jessica Garcia

I believe teachers should keep their personal opinions to themselves when on the subject of politics, religion, ethnicity, and sexual preference. As a freshman at my high school I never recalled many teachers who crossed the line of teaching versus dictating. This dilemma didn’t become apparent to me until this year. Along with being a junior comes being mature about the subjects one doesn’t really think about just coming out of middle school. These subjects are altered with ones surroundings like peers, siblings, parents and teachers. This is why I believe that everything teachers say plays a big roll in what we as young adults believe.

What brought me to write this essay was a substitute that made an appearance in my sixth period English class. We will call him Chief… not because I need to keep his name disclosed but because he pompously chose to call himself Chief. When I entered the classroom this day he sternly told me to remove my headphones and I didn’t mind because the bell had rung and I was already through the door. The class proceeded with him telling us to read a passage from our textbooks. If we were to do this at the end of the class he would reward us with “Three minutes of truth.” He described this “game” to us and from what I understood, “Three minutes of Truth,” was where we, asked him any questions we wanted about God, politics, or anything we needed answers about. And then he proceeded to say, “I will tell you the truth because I guarantee that during one point in every single one of your lives you have been lied to.”

After the class had finished reading, we were assigned a worksheet and usually a worksheet turned into a class discussion. In this class there was a new girl. She was a short, blonde with pretty eyes and slight southern accent because she had just moved from Texas. But besides her accent, what drew most of us to her was her amazing personality. She was the type of person who made everyone laugh just by saying one word.

Our class discussion had turned its attention toward the new girl because she mentioned Texas. Chief then proceeded with a smile, “You’re from Texas? I’m so sorry.”

The new girl looked confused and responded, “Yes. What’s wrong with that?” Chief then responded, “Nothing. It’s just that people from Texas are stupid. Look at our president. I guess that explains why you are the way you are.” All of the class became completely silent and shocked that a teacher had said something that ignorant. After that mess had passed it was about time for the bell to ring to go home. So he asked the class “Is there anyone with a question? Politics, marriage, religion, politics?” We were all getting the hint that he wanted to talk about politics so a boy from the back row simply stated, “Politics then.”

The conversation immediately went to, “…George Bush is a terrorist and he is the reason for 9/11 and all of the money and blood lost… He is a douche bag… today’s society is going to s*it.” I then cluelessly opened my mouth and stated that George Bush had nothing to do with the terrorist attack and that I believe it to be wrong of him to be telling a class of young easily influenced people false accusations. My nerves were beginning to get the best of me though so I was quiet spoken and stuttering a bit. He then stated in front of everyone that my opinion didn’t and would never matter in this country because all that matters is the government’s view of success which is getting an education and a good job to pay my taxes, so I should shut my mouth because there is no point in ever opening it.

From the point of me leaving that classroom red faced and furious, I realized that I believe in teachers recognizing that what they say plays a roll in students lives and that there are clearly drawn lines that should never be crossed.

I went to the office the next week and was told that he wouldn’t be back. I then saw Chief on campus two days later.