It really is. I will readily confess that the professoriate doesn’t give it much appreciation either — we’re all just tossed straight into the classroom with negligible preparation — but at least we’ve got a kind of Darwinian mode going on to weed out the worst. Jonnny Scaramanga has a guest post from someone who was subjected to Christian fundamentalist education. It’s ugly.
Others were not so lucky, I remember one boy being ridiculed by the teachers for having “girl hair” and other members of my class were reduced to tears after being publicly screamed at by the head teacher’s wife for offenses as minor as not completing their lunchtime chores (which included vacuuming the classrooms and cleaning the staffroom) to a satisfactory degree. One of my chores included removing the spiders from the girl’s cloakroom… since I was terrified of spiders I refused in tears and was shut in the cupboard until the job was complete – afterwards I was told to pray for God to make me less of a coward. The school’s policy appeared to be ridiculing and humiliating children into submission.
Some of my more bizarre memories include “sex education” lessons. Sex ed in the ACE booklets is notoriously bad, so at the very least Maranatha tried to supplement these. All students over eleven were separated into boys and girls to, very awkwardly, talk about our bodies. I can’t speak for the boys but on our side this included the youngest girl being teased by the teacher for being too young to “understand menstruation” and being told no husband would ever want us if we were “used.” This is what happens when you have a group of mostly untrained (as someone studying for 3+ years to become an educator, I do not count the five day ACE “Professional Training Course”) adults in charge of the education and well-being of children.
If you’re going for a secular degree in education, it’s a skill — I have a lot of respect for the students at my university in the teaching program. If you’re in one of these ACE schools, though, ideology is the most important message, and the education is secondary. Or tertiary. Or, hell, forget it, not important at all.