Teachers, unite!

Image: SL Wong


A vote of protest against the nefarious speech about the hard, misunderstood and devalued profession of a teacher

One of the saddest news in recent years has been to see the existence of colleagues who not only voted for the mythomaniac specialized in killing,[I] but continue to defend him in 2023, despite everything he denied, distorted, corrupted and undone; in spite of all the ignominies he has committed; despite the absolute debauchery with which he mismanaged the people, things, cultures, laws and accounts of the country, in favor of himself and his minions, all situated far below mediocrity.

Now, if not even the sanitary hecatomb due to federal negligence was able to sensitize some teachers during the pandemic, what could your son's lighthearted speech awaken? This is what I have been reflecting on since the deputy compared “doctrinating professors” to “traffickers” – to the moral detriment of educators –, over the weekend, in an act that “coincided” with the six months of the attack on the three Powers of the Republic, on January 8, 2023.

Someone will object that it is useless to propose any form of dialogue with this nefarious group; but, I persist.

Let's start with the suspicion that few people remember or know that among the ancient Romans, the verb "to indoctrinate" underlay the act of teaching, that is, it was a practice inherent in the relationship between Master and Disciple (see what Antônio Geraldo Cunha taught in your Portuguese etymological dictionary).

However, the course of centuries, the change of regimes, the new ways of conceiving the world, lent a pejorative character to the term indoctrination. If until the end of the XNUMXth century, doctrine translated a set of precepts and, by extension, the idea of ​​system, the fact is that the word assumed a negative character throughout the XNUMXth century, especially when it came to be used as a synonym for perversion, ethical and/or intellectual deviation of the “pure” students, due to the work of the “indoctrinator” teacher.

If recovering the etymology of doctrine can result in an inconsistent argument (since many layers of meaning have been attributed to this word over the centuries), let us consider Paulo Freire's use of it in Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Published in 1968. Contrary to what his detractors say without having read it, note that at no time did he defend the doctrinaire role of the teacher, but his libertarian purpose in working with students.

A possible explanation. Freire's conception of teaching-learning presupposed solidarity against antagonism; critical education instead of naive schooling. In short, overcoming the oppressed-oppressor contradiction would involve the horizontal relationship between educator-learner and learner-educator.

The lesson may sound obvious to colleagues familiar with Paulo Freire's extensive work; but it will probably be condemned as a piece of “doctrinaire” pedagogy by the extreme right and its supporters – specialists in resentment who pretend to believe in the absurdities that they themselves create and disseminate, in the name of chimeras such as “Homeland” (US backyard), “God ” (of prosperity), “Family” (of appearances) and “Property” (of unproductive latifundia) etc.

What beings of this lineage pretend to forget is that there is no neutral teacher, nor teaching free from partiality. What would they have to say about coaches apologists of neoliberalism, who transfer the entire share of failure to the “failed” individual? About instructors who “teach” entrepreneurship as if it were an absolute value, alien to individual limits and intolerant of social asymmetries? About “religious” leaders who plunder the poorest believers for their own benefit? About subjects in politics who have fun while targeting education professionals?

Teachers, unite!

here is the link to register your protest vote against the nefarious speech about our hard, misunderstood and devalued craft: https://lucienecavalcante.com.br/foraeduardobolsonaro/#form

*Jean Pierre Chauvin Professor of Brazilian Culture and Literature at the School of Communication and Arts at USP. Author, among other books by Seven Speeches: essays on discursive typologies.


[I] Testimony made in 2017. Cf. https://www.nytimes.com/pt/2022/03/31/opinion/bolsonaro-brazil-amazon.html

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