Memento Mori: A Teacher's Tale

I find that teaching can be really tiring, especially when there are students who are not well-versed in what I would call general cultural knowledge or who are not able to renounce their lack of understanding (which they take as full understanding). When I write that, I am talking about basic problems in receptivity to different contexts, sensitivity to audience and tact.
And when it comes to exhaustion, of equal relevance is the fact that the "teach-er" can never be perfect. There are always other ways in which one could have presented the exercise. Or points one left out. Ad infinitum - the teacher's/professor's job is never done.
But what I find so bizarre about the current education atmosphere is that the t/p who shows their weaknesses, such as by calling out impolite students (possibly in an extreme way) are chastised. I would not want to justify berating a whole class for one student's uncouthness, but I would not want to criticise such an approach, either. Such t/ps are trying to teach all students about behaviour - because so many students have less of an understanding of respect than previous generations did. Blind respect is one thing - and deserves a special context. But disrespect is another.  
One of the worst trends in education - that I can see - is the steam-rolling of professors who are dedicated, but not always able to temper their human side. It is human to make mistakes. While I am teaching in a specific environment and so have no premise for a generalisation, I wonder what kind of a teaching environment this propaganda is vying for if it punishes professors for moments of weakness. I still think that the majority of professors - though I could be wrong - tolerate a whole lot more weakness on the side of the student than the other way around (as should be - students have less experience), so as a result, it should be understood that the professor is only human, too. The system should respect the senior professor - providing they are delivering content. After all, they are older, and will have to answer for the experience they have (as I will have to and have to).
Recent press on how teachers (or professors) should be sent to West Point-style boot camps makes me wonder if there truly is a trend in contemporary education that could be termed sinister.
To my mind, because education is run by humans (by default, flawed), the knowledge gained through the experience of the system cannot be perfect, either. Teaching will always be about knowing the audience of each successive generation -and be about the human contact in conveying both part of our humanity and part of the subject matter - as much as can be imparted to the students' varying levels of receptivity) and education is an ongoing, two-way process.
Years ago, my department celebrated a huge milestone, and one of the 90-year-old veteran (now retired) professors said: teaching is a seat-of-your-pants type of job. Sometimes you only discover what you need to be focusing on during the class period, and it is up to you to respond to these as soon as you possibly can. 
The teacher/professor is highly responsible. But what is this responsibility worth if the they are not respected? One of the signs of respect is to overlook some (not all) signs of human weakness. I know how much I do this with my students. So, I expect the same in return. Not for all of my shortcomings, but in terms of the larger picture: if I am successfully delivering them knowledge that can remain with them for life, I expect them to overlook my bad moments (P.S. I do not shout, at my worst, I complain of their not paying attention to the criteria). If they show me by the end of the year that they have understood something from my course, I will overlook their occasional disrespect towards me. In the mean time, as this knowledge is exchanged, I do not expect to be lambasted regularly - nor will I them. Weak moments are mutual.
At the end of the day, there will be those students who will fail themselves in the exam. As for me, I am looking to improve myself and to reduce moments of weakness. But, the fact is, students need to be called out sometimes. Yes, it is important to teach with a smile. But at the end of the day, if a professor is smiling the whole time and not correcting, this is actually worse than a professor who doesn't smile and even shouts but teaches. Where else do we get the knowledge? It is much harder to learn a body of knowledge outside of the educational system, because of access to literature, guidance, etc.
When I think about my seniors, I have much empathy for them. They are indeed seniors, so when they are not treated such, shouldn't it be understandable they may resort to retaliation? They have double the responsibility than their students have - so when they are weak, they may come off doubly fierce. The stakes are higher - this is not a justification, but an explanation.
Well, that is how I used to expect things to be like back in the day, but apparently, everyone has decided differently. I am guessing that I am young enough (big question mark here) to iron myself out of some habits that would lead me to a place of being lambasted - but I really feel badly for older professors used to another code of manners. It used to be the case that students who didn't pay attention or who were not receptive to the course material could expect to fail - so did all they could in their scheming ways to at least appear to meet the standards. It seems to me that the standards are being changed so that students will no longer feel the need to even appear to meet the standard.
What of the whisper: memento mori?
Only an education that is broad (one healthy in the humanities) and that cultivates a respect for that which has come before (respect, not blind devotion) is one that is in the favour of mankind, everything else is the joker. There are even scientists who would vouch for this. It is important because, hardy har, in the final count, we are human, no matter what we are doing.

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