Schooling Magazine

Hey Big Red (from the Archives)

By Stevemiranda

When I was in middle school, my friend Artie shocked all of us by shooting spitballs at the vice principal, Mr. Salvatini. It was an incredibly daring move because Mr. Salvatini was a stern man who didn’t tolerate any nonsense. We all got a big giggle from it.

In high school, I had a track coach who was very tall and had long red hair. One day, an older student named Tony walked into the locker room and greeted the coach by saying, “Hey Big Red!” We couldn’t believe his boldness!

* * *

In schools, there is a distinct gap between the students and the grownups. Teachers are set up to be distant authority figures—dispensers of facts and knowledge, but not real people. They’re not supposed to share any parts of their social lives. If they relate to students personally, they’re chastised for being unprofessional, for trying to be “friends” with students.

This never made sense to me in my 10 years teaching in traditional schools. And now that I’m working in a progressive school, I’m gaining a broader perspective on this dynamic.

No student would ever shoot a spitball at a teacher in my school—not because they’d fear punishment, but rather the act would make no sense given the nature of the relationship between staff and students. Staff members at PSCS do not demand respect from students based on their title or an uneven power relationship; they earn their respect by treating students with the same dignity and respect that they treat any other person.

They ask students for input in solving problems, share little details about their personal lives, and apologize to students if they make a mistake. Accordingly, the students respect the staff—and each other—because they’re immersed in an environment that’s based on mutual respect.

Still, many traditional schools prefer an environment of distant, formal relationships over authentic, personal ones. I’m not sure what advantage this offers.

(Join the discussion at Get updates at

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Keto-Cooking Tips for Busy Parents

    Are you interested in the ketogenic diet, but not sure how to cook? Then you'll enjoy this interview with Maria Emmerich. Having struggled with her weight in... Read more

    9 hours, 19 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
  • The Production of Ignorance

    Production Ignorance

    What the media gets wrong about trans people, how misinformation is perpetuated, and what we can do about it. The first chapter of Trans Like Me: A Journey for... Read more

    9 hours, 29 minutes ago by   Cnlester
  • Competition: SilentNight Pillows

    Competition: SilentNight Pillows

    For everyone who loves a bit of night time comfort, SILENTNIGHT are giving away a set of their - PURE COTTON PILLOW PAIR. These lovely pillows have a 100% cotto... Read more

    9 hours, 50 minutes ago by   Evette Garside
  • Listen: the Walls Group Releases New Single “my Life”

    Listen: Walls Group Releases Single Life”

    ChristianNews Stellar Award winning gospel group, The Walls Group which consist of four siblings ((Darrel Walls, Rhea Walls, Paco Walls, Ahjah Walls) has... Read more

    10 hours, 4 minutes ago by   Firstladyb
  • But I Wasn't Even Drinking!!!

    Here is a straight from the headlines story that all parents should use to talk with their teens. Erin is a 17 year old senior in high school, honor roll studen... Read more

    10 hours, 14 minutes ago by   Joanigeltman
  • “This Is the Absolute Best I Have Felt in Years”

    Is the two-week low-carb challenge a game changer? This is what life-long weight struggler Jasmin has to say after stumbling upon it: Hi Team, My name is... Read more

    10 hours, 21 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
  • Khao San Road: A Perfect Place for Solo Travelers

    Khao Road: Perfect Place Solo Travelers

    Sometimes all we need is a place where we can breathe, to exhale all the problems and to inhale all the positivities of life. You’ve heard this before “try to g... Read more

    10 hours, 42 minutes ago by   Vinzsalvador23