Conformity vs Self-expression

I saw the Rocky Horror Show at the Citadel this weekend. It reminded me of the dichotomy of conformity versus self-expression. The traditional, conservative in opposition to the free-spirited expression of those sometimes deemed at the edge. I often think of my mother who taught high school for many years. Where others would notice and perhaps judge the differences – the attempts at self-expression – my mother did not. To her credit, she did not even seem to notice. She accepted all students for who they were.

Do we expect conformity in our classrooms?

Do we permit those experimenting with their self-expression to ‘try-on’ various personas and styles?

Do we allow students in our school to take risks or do we have an expected, required idea of ‘good’ or ‘model’ students?

Do we make assumptions about our students based on their behaviour or appearance, without considering their life experience?

Do we value our students for who they are… even when we might not understand them?


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