Mary Grabar

In fact, given that the method of teaching promoted in education classes and in teacher seminars today is that of "facilitation," the barrier between teacher and student is not much of one at all. The teacher becomes a peer, and according to the regnant ethos, it’s okay to have sex with one's peer. (Remember, judgments about sexuality are verboten in the classroom too.) The emphasis on "discovery," "group work," and "discussion" puts the teacher in the role of facilitator, not someone who has knowledge to impart, but someone who brings the innate wisdom of each genius in her classroom to the fore.

Furthermore, the teacher is ordered to make learning "fun." The result is a classroom of sprawling college freshmen dressed as if for spring break, many of whom do not even have the assigned reading material in front of them.

The high school student today is likely to have spent more time engaged in mock U.N. debates than in learning the rules of grammar.

Indeed, on college campuses students form chapters of the Model United Nations Club. And I have seen no more convoluted argumentation from a free-wheeling, un-schooled mind than I did from one of these students in his papers. I am sure that the poor guy had been told from the time he could read that his ideas were original and profound. But he would be incapable of writing a simple memo. The other students done such a disservice are those in honors classes, who are used to being told that they are the best and the brightest. I had the occasion to teach such a class of freshmen and was surprised to find that I had to fill out evaluations on students on such criteria as their "leadership abilities." Unfortunately, there was no space to check off N/A, "not applicable," as I would have liked.

When we grant students authority that is unearned or assume that they should demonstrate "leadership abilities" in the classroom, we give them a feeling of maturity beyond their years and real knowledge level—or on par with the teacher.

Today, what is considered more shocking than sexual relations between teacher and high school student is that a husband would kill his wife's lover. Decades ago, when sex was not such a casual thing, the murder in a moment of passion would not seem that unusual. >p>But that was before teachers became peers and told students who had been told that they were smart enough to be U.N. delegates that anything goes.

Mary Grabar

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at Her writing can be found at