What is 'Cancel Culture'? Can Teachers be cancelled?
Updated: Jun 21
First thing to establish is what is cancel culture.
In many social sectors, cancel culture means the banishing of someone from social circles, because of what society deems as unacceptable and therefore that individual or group is hence ‘cancelled’.
It is interesting to know that people can be cancelled for their actions or opinions and it is sections of society that has the power to make these decisions.
Since when did people on the socials become judges in cancelling people???
Grime artist Wiley was cancelled because of some controversial things he said, but was he cancelled by social influencers or by people in higher places?
In schools, I find that cancel culture is covertly creeping into the classes and it is the students that are judges and teachers the victims.
If students are not happy with teachers whether it be the style of teaching or because the teacher is not likeable, teachers are immediately cancelled by the student and conformity deteriorates as a result! In one example, I spoke to a student about her behaviour and why she was given a detention by her subject teacher for lack of homework. Her response was because the teacher gave her a detention, the teacher is now cancelled and she will drop her levels deliberately in his lesson.
Cancel culture is fast becoming a powerful force amongst social influencers, to ostracise people who do not meet the status quo for whatever reason and as it makes its way into schools, students are using cancel culture to cancel teachers.
Can you be cancelled?
That would all depend on the individual. If a student does not like a teacher and in affect ‘cancels’ the teacher should that teacher feel cancelled?
Should the teacher not continue doing his or her job as normal?
It is important to know that individually cancel culture is only relevant if we let it happen. As teachers, we can’t change students opinion about us wether we like it or not, but in the classroom we are in control. In the classroom we make the rules and in the classroom we should not let cancel culture ostracise us just to accept likes from students.
How do we as teachers avoid being ‘cancelled’ by students.
In all honesty every teacher has their own style of teaching and we shouldn’t change because of fear of being cancelled by students. The primary objective as a teacher, no matter what teaching style used, is to ensure that our students are achieving and are able to thrive in a changing world. If this can be at the forefront of teachers mind then being ‘cancelled’ or disliked by students should not bother us. Cancel culture only holds weight from powerful influencers at the very top and even then individuals can still thrive in their own Lane. Mental health is crucial to us teachers and we have to ensure that we protect our mental health at all cost.
I was speaking to a fellow teacher colleague recently who was in tears, because a student in her class had been giving her a hard time since the start of the academic year and she believed she was ‘cancelled’ by the student. The teacher was very upset and felt she was bullied by the student. As we continued our conversation I could see the student had control in my colleagues lessons and it was easy to see where the struggle came from. I arranged a meeting between the student, my colleague and myself to rectify the issues. The student’s main issue was that the teacher didn’t take control of the lesson and was too ‘soft’.
What I got from that meeting was that it wasn’t that cancel culture had taken place in my colleagues lesson, it was that it was allowed to take place. After the meeting we suggested some strategies and how the lesson can benefit all parties, there was a significant change. My colleague took control of the class and cancel culture slowly disappeared.
As teachers we have a hard enough job as it is just to teach let alone do the admin stuff, the pressure to achieve results and the cancel culture that’s creeping into our schools.
If cancel culture is a force to be reckoned with as I mentioned earlier then the individual on the receiving end needs to be tough both mentally and professionally.