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Rage against the news feed machine

by Rebecca Thomas

Educators are particularly susceptible to getting riled up about the latest injustice or salacious narratives (I include myself in that description) - the stab at Aotearoa New Zealand Histories got me quite animated this week. Portray public education as under-funded, our students as under-served victims of systemic racism, our government as corrupt and uncaring - and watch as the ‘Wake-up’, Outrage-O-Meter redlines!

The human brain has an unfortunate tendency to start accepting something as truth merely through repetition and familiarity - even if it started as fiction or falsehood, or perhaps when it is being served only half the story. When I calmed down over the histories debate I knew that any educator who truly has unpacked the ANZH knows it isn't as 'single sided' as the media would have the country believe - but it didn't help my blood pressure at the time. Our pattern recognition abilities can be exploited by those who wish to implant a certain narrative through sheer reinforcement.

It's the digital version of the old saying: "A lie repeated three times becomes truth." The more we react and spread the negativity virus, the more it shapes our perceptions until we're in a feverish us vs. them delirium.

Facebook and other platforms' algorithms are like mischievous gremlins, cackling as they strategically put virtual landmines of controversy right in your newsfeed path.

At the end of the day, we became educators to inspire young minds and foster the next generation of thinkers and leaders - not get endlessly mired in partisan squabbles over hot-button issues. When we get too caught up in raging over the controversy du jour, it distracts us from our core mission in the classroom.

Our kids don't care about the politicised narrative. They need caring mentors committed to their growth and empowerment as humans. Not frothing activists raging over the latest faux-troversy designed to both-sides us into oblivion.

With great responsibility comes great power - the power to rise above the endless cycle of manufactured outrage peddled by those who profit from our division. Just because we can virtue-signal and join the digital rage over each fresh controversy, doesn't mean we should play into those disempowering mind games.

At the end of the day, we don't serve the debate class amplifiers or those trying to keep the outrage meter perpetually redlining for engagement. We serve the young minds counting on us to empower them with wisdom. By staying focused on that vital charge, we become their strongest shields against the forces seeking to polarise and demoralise.

Rest up educators, the holidays are approaching, use your energy to recharge and reflect on the greatness you do in your schools, for your kids and communities.

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Re Rage against

Sorry, but pretty sure we all know we are ‘here to serve the young minds’ ..and their communities.

But serving is pretty hard when you have no picture of the final dish, when the recipe keeps changing but you don’t get told the ingredients…

Teachers need to be activists, Who else is going to stand up and fight for an education system that serves all? Until we have cross party agreement on education policy, we’re going to be activists forever.

Replying to

More a rage over the media news feeds and misinformation today and the people who profit from our outrage, 'yes' to cross party agreements, just 'no' to media frenzy over portraying education and educators badly to get attention. Certainly not aimed at teachers being activists, apologies if that's what you thought.

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