Freedom of speech is a funny thing; when we’re denied it, we will fight for it, but when we are allowed it, we will try to restrict it. We’ve all had those teachers who have tried to convince their students into adopting his/her own political beliefs. Similarly, we’ve all probably had those teachers who won’t so much as speak the name of a political figure in order to avoid influencing the thoughts of his/her students. I’ve had both. The topic of political beliefs and discussions in classrooms is a controversial one. Personally, I think a teacher should be able to simply state his/her opinion without being accused of “preaching” his/her beliefs. Of course, there is a fine line between sharing and preaching, but I still think it can be done successfully. While it is a very touchy subject for some, I know in the past I have found it more frustrating when teachers refuse to discuss the matter altogether than when teachers over-preach about it. I think that as young adults, we should be able to respect the views of others while still being able to hold on to our own. However, this absolutely depends on the age of the students. Typical kids in elementary school, for example, are not familiar enough with the topic to form their own opinions, therefore they are easily persuaded by their parents or teachers. In this case, I completely understand the issues that many parents have with teachers sharing their own political views, because children are too impressionable to be able to see them for what they are: opinions. When I was in elementary school I thought everything my teachers would share was bulletproof. But as I got older, I found that I took offense if a teacher would refuse to discuss political topics. Do they think that I’m still naïve enough to automatically agree with anything they say? As far as professors of students our age, unless in a politically-focused class, I think some things are better left unsaid. Some people get offended a little too easily, and some people just enjoy arguing. So I guess my answer is, I still don’t know. While I think teachers absolutely have the right to discuss their own political opinions with students, I think it is very much dependent on the relationship the teacher has with the given student or class. I think an understanding should be agreed upon beforehand. Everyone should agree that what is being shared are opinions and that everyone is entitled to their own. 


Rebecca Falk can be contacted at

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