Positive people are the guardrails of the manipulators.
And even more so, the guardrails of narcissists who, more than often, can’t count on their cleverness to be high enough to fight against the daily delirium whispered in their brain by their over-inflated ego.
We can fully envision it, this delirium, when a narcissist, in Turkmenistan or North Korea has an unchallenged power, mostly “thanks” to the fact that they torture, imprison or kill any people with a modicum of sanity.
But we can be the horrified spectator of this narcissistic craziness in any institution, organization or country where the number of manipulators has grown over the fatal threshold of half the people there.
Let’s take, for example, a hypothetical high-school…
Where the Educational Manager would be a nice and utterly naive person. Or so it would seem…
It’s him, this overtly positive guy, who would be in charge of convincing the potentially new parents that his high-school is focused on everything emotional. Unless, of course, in an unexpected appearance of honesty and lucidity, he would let escape that it’s the high-school’s market positioning.
But the parents of this would-be-pupil, thrilled by the perspective to have their kid, a sensible, artistic and brilliant child, in a school that would respect his originality, skip around this cynical Freudian slip, like professional figure skater around the rink.
And would enlist their kid.
After the first month of class, in conformity with their apparent concern about the emotional well-being of the pupils, it would be the first meeting with the tutor.
And an absolute carnage.
You would be promptly shot from the rosy skies you were encouraged to fly into.
No more unicorn to take your kid by the hand, he wouldn’t deserve it anyway: this teacher would be explaining this with a barely concealed pleasure and hitting on every and any possible fault your kid would have. Until you would, for the first time in your life – as good manners have been instilled into you during your infancy as the Ten Commandments -, send a frenetic text to your husband, begging him to call you. So that you could invent anything to leave. A herd of elephants has gone through your living room, you must go to save the porcelain.
But meanwhile, this teacher would have had enough time to try to destroy your kid’s character and abilities. You would have felt in a First World War trench, under the opposite fire, only without the trench.
This teacher would thus have cleverly used any concern you would have had on your kid, and you had been dumb enough to share with the direction, with the illusory and naive impression that a collaboration between the parents and the school could further help the education of your child. Among other trivia, his shyness, his difficulties to make friends or his tendency to be forgetful.
An inventive and malicious person would only have to go from there and expand…
Your kid would be a disaster in mathematics – and don’t even try to put it on the change of school and pedagogy – and a disaster to make friends. Which he was apparently expected to do in the first days.
A misfit, he would be insolent, doodling all the time in his notebooks, disorganized…
He would be in fact so much a misfit that when he had been forgotten in the classroom by the whole class and the teachers, when they had to go collectively to the swimming pool, it would be his whole responsibility and the proof of his bad faith. Served him well to wait alone during an hour till the whole lot came back, without having noticed they were missing a kid. The same when the hour came for the little group to depart for mathematical reinforcement and they forgot to notice your kid. He should have known better.
He is new ? He felt lost ? He didn’t know how things worked ?
But that wouldn’t excuse anything, dear Madam, he was supposed to prove himself.
And so, a stunning number of teachers would have been in agreement to have you know, after a month and through the mouth of a gleeful tutor that your kid is a pain in the a… cademy.
And the Corsican scourge of his teachers. We are, after all, in Spain.
So far, this horrid kid would have had such a magnificent schooling that his notes had you cry with pride.
But, you couldn’t believe all was forged, there surely must have been some truth in the apparent disaster that was in complete contradiction with your comprehensive but tofu firm education on the values, principles and honour you gave your descendants and you would confront your kid with his presumptive failings with an annoyance bordering on the full blast anger.
And you would have, in front of you, a kid who wouldn’t understand it more than you, who hadn’t understood why he was left hanging when he had to go to the swimming pool, who had drawn only the once when the whole class was dissipated and he could hear nothing anyway…
So to get a clearer idea of this whole situation, you would have, on one side, your kid who, as a rule, didn’t lie – another part of your bothersome education – and half a dozen adults, whom, respectful of the sacred educational mission, you had reflexively adorned with respectability.
And amazingly, the final notes of the trimester wouldn’t reflect the predicted apocalypse: excepted a slight lagging in mathematics, everything would appear to be fine.
That wouldn’t prevent the tutor to still be sending you emails whining about the difficulty everyone had in teaching your brat.
Sightly peeved by this critics you begin to think are unjustifiable, when you thought you had chosen a comprehensive school, and the direction is indeed inundating your mail box with newsletters avid to teach you about emotional intelligence, you call on the intervention of the nice educational manager.
Writing on the perceived lack of empathy of the tutor.
Well,.. you shouldn’t have.
Because the nice educational manager would go straight to your throat. He wouldn’t accept any slight blame on his beyond reproach, blameless, fearless and faultless staff and as a new parent, your only right would be the one to shut the – censured – up.
On the contrary, your precious child would be deserving all the blame. And more. And some more.
Want some? Get some.
And you wouldn’t believe your eyes. A half private school deaf to the respectful comments of a parent?
A school, furthermore, positioned on positive education and the listening of emotions, would harass a good pupil?
They should have specified that all this good will had another target in mind: the teachers.
To clarify the situation, you would ask for an interview with the nice educational manager who wouldn’t even deign to answer and would, thereafter, avoid at all cost to look into your eyes when his path crosses yours. Conscious he had gone too far?
The tutor would have won the war but would be clever enough to realize, thanks to a few key words – like empathy – that we had read through her game and would be in possession of a few loaded mails and she is now positively oozing good will.
A cease fire would seem to be the “plat du jour”.
The end of the year would go by, and the two first trimesters of the next year…
Contrary to the dire predictions of the first months, your kid would have found friends and would be flourishing. With your very needed help, he would have improved his results in maths. and would more or less get back to his place among the successful pupils.
All would be quiet, all would be calm…
Till the coronavirus and the stay at home order.
Harder in Spain, it is also a lot less tolerant. Kids are supposed to work as always, only on computers and the final requirement are left to the individual decision of each school.
Such a terrific idea!
Because for the school of your kid, it would seem that they are now required to do more, not less.
They would be expected to chain themselves to their computers, with the same schedule as before, in case a teacher – who visibly doesn’t apply the same level of exigency to himself – would care to show up. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
But if your kid were to fail this hypothetical class and even if, on your suggestion, he would send an excuse, lo and behold, a strict notification would be sent to the parents. Of course, without further explanation.
Homework in maths would be raining like artillery shells in the same aforementioned war and so would zeros, in case your kid had been late in returning them.
In spite of the newsletters who would continue to land on your mail box, explaining to you how so very important, in these uncertain times, it is to take care of the emotional needs of your kids, in reality, everything would be thought and organized in a punitive matter.
A glass of hypocrisy, anyone?
It would also happen that your kid would wish to become a musician, and would, with this goal in mind, take classes of guitar, singing and piano and would nevertheless – such would be the level of the musical exigence in this school -, find himself crying above his ukulele to register an assignment.
And if memory serves, he would also be below average in musical ear. The note would have since disappeared because – of course – the website would be a joke.
Meanwhile, as he would be late in this particular discipline, zeros would continue to arrive in droves.
When you and your husband, as kids and teenagers, went through this difficult process to be deemed acceptable by the educational system, you would never ever have received a zero. Had it been so, you would have thought about not coming home. Or covered your hair with ashes.
And when you talk about it with the new tutor, she would tell you that it’s only a way to put a little pressure. What a splendid idea! And so emotionally conscious.
You would relax slightly, thinking this would be ornamental. And you would be quickly disabused of this illusion when you receive an official message on your mobile notifying you that your kid should take his fingers out of his ears and put them on his ukulele because he was in danger of not validating this particular discipline.
And you would wonder how these other kids cope who truly don’t have any musical ear: sleep on their instrument in the hope it would seep through?
To help your kid with his lagging in German, you would decide to help him. And would then discover that after four years of the stuff, his accent is so bad that you can’t understand what your kid is spouting. A kid that would be perfectly trilingual and naturally talented, in spite of his newly discovered lack in musical ear.
In front of this unassailable truth that the German class would be at best mediocre, at worst completely useless, you would ask for his transfer in French. He wouldn’t learn anything but at least he would stop losing his time.
And it so happens that the tutor would be also the teacher of the German class and would answer you that the law doesn’t allow you such a change.
You would take other information and a friend of a friend, a director of another high-school, assures you of the contrary.
And when you would come back to the tutor, he would try to convince you of the harrowing difficulty of the change.
You would insist. She would give you an email address.
And when you would be already prepared to grovel, the person in charge would tell you that the sole expression of your wish is their command…
The teaching in maths would be so insufficient that you would wonder with your husband, who would happen to have studied this particular topic at quite a high level, if the teacher actually understands what he teaches.
To compensate this possible lack – and to feel superior? – this teacher would be literally drowning the kids under the homework.
To give you an example, as a recuperation of previous trimesters, he would give, to kids who were already struggling… a grand total of 110 exercises. Not counting the regular homework.
The kids would thus be swimming in a pool of exercises he would quite never explain and barely correct. Or badly.
Nevertheless, in spite of the sanitary conditions, this particular teacher would want his exam on line. With a limited time.
But he would only give the address of the exam to those kids he sees had connected. He would take some time to see yours…
And in the case another kid wouldn’t have been able to connect to the exam, well, no worry, he would get another of these handy zeros.
This exam would have been a potential massacre.
Your kid would validate the stuff with a 5 in calculation and a 9 in problems resolution that would apparently be transformed, if you understood the school’s website, which you are still not sure you do, in a 4,5. The magic of maths where you can already find imaginary numbers.
The lagging homework which you helped do and know with certainty were correct, would earn your kid a collective 3,5.
It’s the beauty of Spain, where, contrary to France, the teacher is never under the boring obligation to give the corrected test back.
Forget about the frescoes that is the emotional cleverness, allowing a kid to know where is has failed and learn from it are the pedagogic walls!
And what about the justification of the note? Nowhere to be seen. The teacher could, if he wanted, give the note he wished based on his own feelings. Or, if he felt like it, throwing the whole bunch of tests down the stairs and give the best note to the one on the lowest step.
And if that were not enough, for the sheer pleasure of it, the physics teacher would have given your kid a 4 for his attitude.
This note would be in complete contradiction to a least another teacher who would speak of the pleasure to have your kid in class, and would be the only note of the semester.
Have at him why don’t you? The pure undiluted pleasure to express one’s feelings through the notation.
Again, here, the respect of the emotions, but not for the kids.
In reality, with the stay at home order, you would be the first to testify that your kid is obediently and respectfully sitting in front of his computer, day in and day out, from dawn to dusk, in a valiant effort to look like a barnacle.
When you would complain to the tutor, the notes of mathematics would disappear from the website, hidden now behind cute little padlocks.
And there would be only the final result for the semester. Which wouldn’t make it any more logical.
Would the obligation to stay at home have some teachers decompensate? In the solitude and the lack of narcissistic validation?
One thing is crystal clear: in any organization, like the US police, where there are too many “bad apples”, it’s the whole compote dish that’s closing rank, their seedy cores snuggling tightly around their esprit de corps.
And it so happens that in Spain, to be allowed to go to the superior level, in high-school, you have to validate each and any topic. Unless you wish to drag it after you like a millstone and be asked to do, like in this “imaginary” school, an hundred exercises more, when you hadn’t understood the first ones.
With a staggering rate of 95% of students who, in another class, hadn’t succeeded in passing their online test, it would mean that in a classroom with 27 pupils, only one of them would have made it.
And we could think that in this high-school, there would be some angry parents.
Isn’t the success or lack thereof, of a majority of pupils, related to the quality of the teaching?
But I would already predict the outcome in this school which maybe isn’t as hypothetical as all that.
Because narcissistic teachers would already be too numerous and would have created an alternative reality. Delirious and false.
A reality in which, they, with the over-inflated ego, would be the true victims. Of mediocre and twisted kids. Who would be doodling all day long instead of listening. The insult! The insolence!
A reality in which they would be highly competent and worth admiration but where the kids wouldn’t deserve their talent.
A reality in which horrible parents, as spoiled and loud as their brats would harass them without mercy.
But still, when you think of it, could there be so many of these parents when a majority of teachers is building a compact and toxic block? How many of these parents, confronted to so many narcissistic teachers describing them a wholly different situation that the one depicted by their kid, would believe the kid? Who is now a teenager?
This is the perfect pedagogic crime.
Because in this alternative reality, the teachers, when in doubt, would only have to go and cry on the “nice” educational manager’s knees to have him jump on his horse, take his spear and charge the windmills. This is still Spain, after all…
When a majority of manipulators and naive enablers have reshaped the reality, we can’t count on truth anymore.
We find ourselves in an alternative reality where manipulators run the show.
And we, good people, are left with only two choices: to adapt to their craziness or enter the Resistance.