Central Europeans reflect on life before the fall of the Berlin Wall
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For the stupidity of the nation there are responsible teachers

Slovak Republic, 2009
Slovak English

Anonymous, Teacher

I am a teacher and my children are teachers. Many people in my family have been teachers, both before and since the revolution. There have been some changes in education, but many things are the same.

In 2006, or 2007, the Ministry of Education was asking us to teach the small children to tell the teachers everything that the other children were doing. The teachers then have to report it to the school officials. I was against this because I was educating freely, in a supposed, democracy. For example, in my class two children were punching each other and I was supposed to report this to the parents and to the officials. Each child put the blame on the other, but the mistakes were on both sides. I talked to them, together, about what happened and they apologized to each other. The problem was resolved. They didn’t have to tell their parents and I didn’t have to tell the officials.

So it is not like it looks like here; that it is a complete democracy. The teachers cannot talk freely in schools about our ideas. I am calling this a toleration democracy. I have a saying: that for the sickness of the nation there are responsible doctors, and for the stupidity of the nation there are responsible teachers.

This interview was in Slovak with the aid of a translator
Photo by Janeil Engelstad

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