Teachers don't dehumanize pupils

July 25, 2013 

It saddens me that Kathryn Bell McKenzie ("Some teachers dehumanize students," July 21, Page D-3) is preparing future teachers for a profession full of demon teachers.

For 13 years I mentored beginning teachers and taught a class to develop techniques for teaching language learners, so I observed teachers in many classrooms. In addition, because of WASC accreditation, my colleagues and I visited our colleagues' classes, often unannounced. I never saw or heard the kind of dehumanizing McKenzie claims exists.

Sure, teachers blow off steam in the break room. Is there a parent who hasn't done the same thing? But the teachers I know teach because they like kids, believe in literacy and enjoy learning from the students. We are sad when there is a student we just can't reach. And we definitely don't want to contribute to "self-fulfilling prophecy" (s/he is going to fail because …).

When I taught ninth graders about the Holocaust, I included articles about brainwashing and ways to get people to commit incredible acts of cruelty. Does McKenzie really want to paint us with this brush? I feel dehumanized.



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