Parent Teacher Conference from InsanityLand
Parent: I don't want my student to learn about evolution.
Parent: It's against our religion, unless you're learning about how it's false.
Me: Well, sir, I respect your right to religious values. I always try to teach the children to respect everybody and their right to their own beliefs.
Parent: So, can he do a project disproving evolution.
Me: No, the state says I have to teach them about evolution. However, I don't teach them that it's the only way but rather a theory. They can make up their minds on their own.
Parent: I don't know. Can he do a project disproving evolution and do one on creationism instead?
Me: No, they already did a paper explaining their beliefs on the subject of how the world was created and if they believe in evolution, creationism, or something in between last week. Now it's time that they learn about Darwin and what he actually said, since most people don't really know what his theory is about.
Parent: I'm just uncomfortable with him learning about evolution. He shouldn't hear about it.
Me: Well, in my mind, him learning about it will make his beliefs stronger. If he knows exactly what Darwin said and what proof he had for his theory, then he will be more educated about his own beliefs. He will be able to say, "I don't believe in evolution because Darwin said this and I think that's wrong because ____." People will listen to him more because he will be educated.
Parent: Well, I suppose that's alright, if it helps him disprove evolution.
Me: That's up to him. However, I do need to teach it. If he doesn't do the project, then he can't get credit for it because the state says I need to teach them about the history of biology, which starts with Darwin and his theories.
Parent: Ok, as long as it helps him to disprove evolution.
Me: (pause) Ok.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
Repeat after self: I will do my best to always respect each person's beliefs and culture. I will take this into consideration when I deal with other people. I will always model respect and professionalism.
I will not let my own opinions bias me in the function of my duties as an educator.