Administrators and the Teachers as Second-Class Citizens
By Rafi M. Ali, M.D.
Director of DarusSalam Seminary’s Tadrīs Integrated High School Program
It is generally observable that people sometimes treat their pets better than they treat other people. Kindness to animals is important. Our Islamic history is abundantly rich with stories encouraging it. One would think that we would have learned our lessons — all the lessons. Here are some additional examples for inspiration:
“According to Rabbi Eliezer ha-Kapar, a Talmudic sage, no one should buy a domestic animal, wild beast, or bird unless he or she is able to feed the animal properly. The duty to feed an animal first is so great that a person must interrupt the performance of a rabbinic commandment if one is not sure animals have been properly fed…”
“Rabbi Abramtzi was a man full of compassion for all living things. He would not walk on the grass of the field lest he trample it down. He was very careful not to tread on grasshoppers or crawling insects. If a dog came to the door of his house, he would instruct the members of his household to feed the animal. In winter he would scatter crumbs of bread and seed on the window sills. When sparrows and other birds arrived and began to pick at the food, he could not remove his gaze from them and his face would light up with joy like that of a little child. He looked after his horses far better than his coachmen did. When traveling and the coach had to ascend an incline, he would climb down in order to lighten the load and, more often than not, he would push the cart from behind.”
Here is a Christian tradition narration: St. Kevin had a blackbird lay an egg in his hand and he stayed motionless until it had hatched.
It is generally believed, and possibly true, that teachers are not duly appreciated, treated as second-class citizens, and rewarded for their loyalty with onerous non-sensical tasks that interfere with their noble high-purpose. They feel unfairly treated. Thus, many teachers walk the hallways with saintly notions of self-sacrifice, silent suffering, and martyrdom. It can only be hoped that they do not have pets.
Have such pedagogues reflected on the morass of student trouble, the stench of complaints, the black-hole of delinquencies, and sheer volume of people that their administrators are subjected to manage? Even a classroom is sufficiently difficult to lead. Are not the administrators but people? Do not life’s burden weigh upon them? Have we stopped them recently and asked them about what aches their heart?
The bridge that exists between the administrators and teachers is only partly created from a philosophy of education that devalues the high station of teachers. A good part of it is (perhaps created a little on both sides) from an unfortunate human proclivity for treating animals and people with appalling disparity.
An Excellent Teacher collaborates with the administrators towards a common goal.
. Richard H Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism (New York: Lantern Books, 2001), 21.
. Rabbi Goldie Milgram, “Eco-Kosher: Jewish Spirituality in Action,” Eco-Kosher: Jewish Spirituality in Action, Reclaiming Judaism, http://reclaiingjudaism.org/teachings/eco-kosher-jewish-spirituality-action (accessed September 30, 2019).
. Irish Saints’ Tale: St. Kevin and the Blackbird. Celtic Mythology, legends, Saint Keivin, http://www.luminarium.org/mythology/ireland/stkevin.htm (accessed September 30, 2019).