After reading Freire’s essay I reflected on all of my education experiences inside and outside of the classroom. Out of all of my years on this planet, learning things from professional educators and loved ones, the one person that really stuck out was my seventh grade history teacher. I knew his teachings were the perfect topic for this essay. I started off trying to remember what it was like being face to face with the ‘angriest man in the world’ for five hours a week, slowly spilling my thoughts and memories on paper, editing, revising and changing things more times than I can remember. Sometimes tossing out entire paragraphs and then later regretting it. The more I wrote, the more I remembered how his ‘teachings’ didn’t work and how I was glad to finally be out of seventh grade on the last day of school. I went from trying to make it look really intellectual and complex to straight forward and simple. There is no point in trying to earn style points if I put it down for a few days just come back to a confusing paper that I can’t even understand. Being able to step back and say “No Josh, that’s just glorified nonsense”, and then delete or change it is something that I probably wouldn’t have done before and that makes me proud. I want the reader to know that I completely agree with Freire, the education system is flawed. I don’t think that majority of teachers and students know it is, I think they have just been going with the flow for so long they just sort of except it for what it is. Everyone needs to “The ‘Banking’ Concepts of Education” at least once.
The “Banking” Concept of Education
After reading Freire’s “The “Banking” Concepts of Education”, one type of teacher stands out to me. Anyone that has set foot in a middle school or high school has had that geography or history teacher that had absolutely no business what-so-ever being in front of a blackboard. Nine times out of ten, that teacher was also a coach. The problem is that their real passion is in the gym or on the field. Sadly, for the rest of the un-athletic student body they have nothing left to offer. When it comes to oppression in the classroom, coaches usually lead the way.
When I was in seventh grade, we had a first year history teacher named Coach Anderson. After the week of class I nicknamed him “The Angriest Man in the World”, the name stuck and spread throughout the student body. We would say things like “The angriest man in the world isn’t going to like this”, or “the angriest man in the world gave me detention”. It even got around to the staff, I once heard my English teacher refer to him in that way. He earned the name from his unnecessary volume and strict rules, he was always hollering about something. At least once a week another teacher would come in the room and ask him to keep it down because they were testing across the hall. It was more than his rules and the volume of his voice that made the students feel ‘beneath’ him. He carried himself in such a way that it made you not want to ask questions or be involved in any way, which was a pretty tough. In the subject of history there is only correct or incorrect, black or white. When a man walks around with a frown on his face and his chest out you don’t want to bother him if you’re only twelve. As a teacher, you image needs to be friendly, knowledgeable, and inviting. If students would have felt more comfortable interacting with him, there would have been a lot less grey in the class. In fact, we often felt that his class raised more questions rather than answered them. It’s a shame too because we could have really learned some things if he would have been more approachable.
His real passion was football and it showed, he didn’t know much about anything else. Every day in class he had prewritten notes on the projector. If he was yelling about something he was leaning back in his chair and watching us write. We would take ten pages of notes...