I first faced consequences for cheating in middle school. During an algebra test, my friend Samantha, who sat next to me, asked to borrow my eraser, and I slid it over to her. This violated Mrs. Connor’s strict rule against talking during tests, and she immediately marched over and announced we’d both receive zeroes. We were two of the most straitlaced students in the school and would never have dreamed of cheating, but here we were with our first Fs, sobbing in front of the whole class.


    At the time, it felt like Mrs. Connor’s goal was not to keep us honest but to get a sadistic thrill from making two young girls cry. To be honest, it still feels like that.

No, Mrs. Connor's goal was to teach the Conservative (psychologically, not necessarily politically) ethical value of obedience.

Which I find equally repulsive. But it helps to understand it. It isn't sadism. It's a fundamental moral principle of a certain mindset and worldview; broadly, Conservatism.

I had teachers the same way. Most of us have. I now reject that worldview as immoral and repugnant. Obedience to arbitrary authority is not a virtue. To help one's group (country, football team) at the harm of another is not a virtue. Arbitrary purity (eating organic, sex, tattoos) is not a virtue.

We can better fight these worldviews by identifying them. Telling Mrs. Connor she's sadistic will only reinforce her beliefs. Gently inquiring as to what she hopes to gain, and how she believes she is helping her students succeed might plant the seed that eventually changes her worldview and her behavior.

posted by ButterflyEffect: 935 days ago