The first of September without flowers

“Instead of buying flowers on September 1, Ukrainians are offered to donate money to cancer-sick children” – such headlines appeared on the Internet on the eve of the Knowledge Day. More and more people refuse to “waste money” on bouquets for teachers, giving their own money to other noble deeds. But are these fine gestures right and noble?

The other day pedagogy teacher told us, the students of the philology department, the story about how she was distributed to the village when they still had to work out three years after getting a diploma. She told us as she ordered a new suit at the local tailor’s. She carefully took off the measure, sewed it for a long time, and when the customer asked, when she would finally finish the suit, she replied: “Oh, you know what?! I am trying so hard – this is for the teacher! “.

Historically, teachers in Ukraine had the influence and respect. Here you can also recall the Latin “magister dixit”, which in any medieval Europe stopped any dispute. “Teacher said, that’s it!”. No one on the earth knows better than a teacher, only God is wiser.

In Ukraine, however, educators took over the function of intellectual elites, saving Ukrainian language and spirituality in difficult historical times. It is well-known fact that, for example, teachers of the Russian language in Soviet times received higher salaries than teachers of Ukrainian. Be glad for not been imprisoned for nationalism.

This profession has never been profitable or well-paid. But the social role of the teacher for decades and centuries remained firmly weighty.

Digital Age, the age of the Internet, or even earlier, the transition from socialism to capitalism, led to the revision of the social ladder. The main factor of respect is the success. Personal income becomes almost the only indicator of success. If you have got money – you are a successful person, if you haven’t – a loser. Yesterday’s, “my teacher, the world’s dawn” is really missing. The Internet is filled with jokes about the fact, that every successful teacher must have her husband who would pay her this hobby.

The things, that would have been all-fired gall of some three decades ago, became a reality: at the parents’ meeting you can hear screams at a class teacher, at home with a child discussing that “she” is completely insolent, we must write a collective complaint. In privileged schools, in particular, the communication between students’ moms and a teacher often resembles a series with court intrigues. The status of the teacher, like a monument to Lenin, fell off from the pedestal.

And children see and hear everything. Adults lowered a teacher to the level of attendants, desacralized school affairs, replaced the temple of science with “educational services”. In addition, Youtube knows more about the school program and explains it in a more interesting way, than Mariia Ivanivna. Where would respect come from?

My son’s first teacher addressed all the parents in his class by name. We called her – “Larysa Leonydivna”, but she called us – Sasha, Tania, Sveta, Petia. For the first time, I was confused, since I had long been Tetiana Vasylivna, also an educator, and why actually … And then it came to me. In a prestigious gymnasium, the teacher was forced to artificially establish a vertical distance between her and parents, so that they did not eat her. It doesn’t matter what kind of Mercedes you drive to school to take your son, here you are just Vasia, the informal “you”, and she is – Larysa Leonydivna, the formal “You”. And, you know, somehow, parents did not dare to violate the established order in the class. And a healthy atmosphere prevailed, and the children loved Larysa Leonydivna.

The ritual of giving flowers before the beginning of the new school year is not about money and not about flowers. This is a gestalt, it is a respect on the tatami, it is the establishment of rules of the game and social roles, this is the psych up of the small consumer of educational services to their correct consumption.

In Europe, everyone is smiling at one another in public places. Unknown people to strangers. Insane smiles, we say. Maybe they are insincere, but the total effect is a friendly, non-aggressive society as a whole. The same is true for bunches of flowers on September 1 – recognition of the social status of the profession, the adjustment of children to the authority of the teacher, the launch of psychological mechanisms of cooperation.

Whether teachers need these flowers or not, let the teachers decide themselves, they are offended by the state, reform and city department of public education.

As for children with cancer, here, I believe, help is needed not “instead” and not “on the first of September”. One-off are plastic cups, but charity is a state of mind and a way of life.

Tetiana Monakhova

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