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20 September, 2020
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Arrogance sends cocky message to kids

Education crisis needs real leadership but a culture of arrogance stands in the way

Michalis Tsikalas

Michalis Tsikalas

We were waiting on the union “leaders” to consult with each other in order to make some statements to reporters standing outside. But what came out of the meeting, in which government proposals were the topic of discussion, was something else.

One of the “leaders” walked by and responded to a question on whether they would be making any statements by saying “that’s none of your business.” Why? Why were there reports of disagreements between union representatives and the government proposals? Were there none? Since the whole thing started, did high school and middle school teachers have no disagreements whatsoever?

Institutional arrogance

What brings out this show of arrogance, at least the one I know about? It appeared for a moment that the educators found the easy way out by shooting the messenger, at first with a bit of arrogance which has evolved into an institutional disorder.

Everyone from the executive right down to legislative power, including unions and even the worker behind the cashier’s stand, resort to arrogance, denigrating others and behaving as if they own the dukedoms which they “govern.”

But it is not so. None of you is governing, note the lack of quotation marks, and none of you is a leader, once again without quotes. These positions, thank goodness, do not belong to you but were assigned to you temporarily. I will come back to the educators and reports by journalists.

But in recent days, these outbursts of arrogance were taken to a whole new level, reaching the epitome with a hurl that covered small Cyprus from one end to the other. This is very unfortunate because this public official should be awe-inspiring with such a dominant position and not causing me sorrow. At least it demonstrates how the link of a long chain that reaches very far also involves many people.

It has to do with the general fallout of how we treat each other, and to put it in layman's terms, it is the loss of moral value at the very core which is going to bring about a huge burden in the future.

As we get caught in the roller coaster of being in a position of power, we gulp down power and spit out arrogance

As we get caught in the roller coaster of being in a position of power, we gulp down power and spit out arrogance. This is how the remnants of a financial crisis were left behind, to a large extent, and now it is becoming obvious that there can be no dialogue without a show of arrogance.

People don’t accept the idea of placing their authority under the power of someone else, even if this is dictated explicitly by the Constitution. And so it goes.

These behaviours get an even bigger boost on social networks, which operate as courtyards with court jesters who click the “Like” button each time a “leader” pops out to blame someone, each time power elites will want to take each other’s eye out. And allegations ensue as we scroll down and off we go, mission accomplished.

The “leader” will continue blaming everyone, those in the wrong and those in the right, getting feedback and feeding the roller coaster power frenzy and so forth.

Calling on educators

But I want to come back to the educators, whose brief show of arrogance was actually bigger than they think. Everything I talk about here in fact has to do with education and a lack of it is the origin of this arrogance which has permeated into everybody.

I wasn’t expecting this from you because you are those who will pass along the message to young people. And this ought to be a good opportunity to show real leadership. Is the message, which ought to be none other than respect towards each other, too much to ask? Is it too advanced of a concept? Maybe because it is so simple, yet difficult, it’s something that is troubling you.

But if the situation doesn’t change drastically, the next bankruptcy won’t be too far away. And it won’t economic but an institutional one. Arrogance is what helps kids grow tough but to the detriment of others as I wrote above.

Arrogance cannot be overcome with memoranda but with our stance today looking into the future.

Be teachers and stay teachers. You have a huge responsibility. Embrace it.


Published on Kathimerini Cyprus website 23 September 2018

Cyprus  |  Tsikalas  |  education  |  arrogance  |  union  |  teacher  |  school  |  attorney  |  general  |  government

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