Teacher talk: what should and shouldn’t be discussed


Stephanie Thomson, Staff Reporter

Although there are certain legal boundaries within which teachers need to stay when deciding exactly how much they should tell or influence their students on personal topics such as religion, politics, and morals, some teachers are more eager to share than their more conservative counterparts.

“I think a teacher’s role is to offer different points of view,” english teacher Kathryn Pabst said.  “We generally have a homogenous group of students, and I think sometimes teachers have to take opposite viewpoints in order for there to have learning happen.”

However, not everyone feels like opinions should be voiced.

“I think teachers should not talk about religion in class, because we have so many different diverse religious beliefs in our school, and so everybody should have their own individual beliefs respected,” chemistry teacher Jennifer Leary said. “But there are exceptions to that; social studies teachers have to talk about religion in their classes.”

Likewise, many students feel the same way about there being appropriate times and places when teachers can speak on the more touchy topics.

“I think it depends on the class–like coach Kear can talk about government and politics as much as he wants, but for a freshman english teacher to divulge on these would be less appropriate,” senior Brooklyn Duke said.

Even in classes where speaking about personal views isn’t necessary, as long as the teacher makes it clear that they aren’t preaching or stating facts, they can usually share their thoughts anyway.

“I don’t think it’s right for teachers to impose their political or religious feelings on others, however, I think to preface those thoughts with ‘This is my religious view’ can also enhance the classroom, because it gives us a point of understanding for each other,” Pabst said.

For some students, though, what their teacher says or thinks doesn’t affect them or their personal values.

“I don’t really care what teachers say, because their opinions don’t really bother me,” sophomore Peyton Welch said.

For the most part, students and teachers can agree that when filtering their subject matter, teachers have a simple guideline to follow.

“I think that whatever the teachers say to the students should be something they would say in front of the parents,” senior Nicole Andrews said.