Academics are not among the most responsible of adults. There's a shine, though, to academic labor that's polished by the institution's reputational economy. Once we have achieved a certain status -- a Ph.D., tenure, full professorship, a belly-full of peer-reviewed publications -- then no matter what we say or how we say it, our words are afforded credibility, even dignity
Students are oppressed because teachers are power. Teachers are the absolute in the classroom. They know all, they do all, they are omniscient and omnipresent, and they can do no wrong. But critical inquiry in the classroom is just saying, “They don’t. They don’t know everything.” They’re an expert on maybe one thing, but not on everything. They’re a learner as much as I am.
Students can’t be the problem, unless they’ve always been the problem. And if they’ve always been the problem, perhaps we should reconsider the whole endeavor. It is for them, after all. But really, at some point, we need to stop blaming students for the state of education. If, after so many years of controlling student behavior, analyzing their data to understand and curtail that behavior, we are still unhappy with their performance, perhaps it’s time we turn education over to them. Perhaps it’s time we made them our colleagues.
It’s pretty disrespectful to talk about “coddling” adults. It’s disrespectful to talk about “coddling” children. Learners are humans with agency, and to assume that it’s “coddling” to make room for the trauma someone suffered is to both make light of that trauma and to overlook the fact that they survived it.