April 17, 2012

Responding Versus Arguing: Written by David

Beginning a life of substitute teaching (because hey, cash is cash) you find yourself in some interesting situations. In the period of a week I found myself in a school where after two days I was being questioned by students I didn't even know about my life, and a school where the students every action was a rebellion against my authority. Guess which school I'd like to teach to again?

But the problem of people rebelling against authority is not isolated to a school classroom. Shock and awe, I know. Rebellion is a part of life. So what makes one rebellion different from another?

The question is whether someone is responding to a problem, or arguing.

Quick quiz, is calling something stupid "gay" the same thing as calling something stupid "black."

Fundamentally, of course they're different. One is homophobic and one is racist. But they both are similar in the fact that they're hateful words. This was an argument that I had at that second school, and I didn't want to get in the argument. But a student decided to argue, not respond.

Responding is discourse. Both sides get to speak, and both sides should learn something by the end of it. But arguing is different, nothing is solved by arguing. Arguing just exists to anger the other side so that you can claim  you ticked them off and you must be right.

As frustrating as 7th graders arguing with you are, it's more frustrating to argue with adults. 7th graders have age as an excuse, but adults have no reason to just be so pigheaded.

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