noun. an act of armed resistance to an established government or leader; the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention.
Am I a rebel?
This one has got me thinking… my instinct is to day No.
Do I resist? Do I challenge? Do I disrupt? Do I agitate?
Yes I do. I most definitely resist authority, control and convention. I had just never considered this to be an act of rebellion before.
Standing strong, remaining true, vocalising discontent, fuelling a sense of agency could all be seen as small acts of rebellion.
At school, as a student, I was always obedient, I was polite, I did as I was told. I was never in trouble. But I did stand up for myself and others. I had a strong sense of right and wrong, I was principled and confident enough to articulate to authority figures if an injustice had been served.
“It is through disobedience that progress has been made,
through disobedience and rebellion”.
Maybe they (the teachers) thought that I was disobedient. Maybe they (the school) saw me as someone who was rebelling against the system. I just saw it as my ability to read, understand and interpret a situation or an individual. I wasn’t a rule breaker but I was a rule bender. I had an ability to gauge what we we needed to do to conform and what wriggle room there was, thus identifying what we could get away ultimately get away with.
The same could be said for me at school as a teacher and a leader. My default settings did not change so does that mean I was a rebellious student? A rebellious teacher? A rebellious school leader? In some ways, yes.
Rebellion is often associated with creativity, creative thinkers and innovation. The ability to think outside of the box. I am an innovator, I am happy to pioneer new ideas and trail blaze new ways of doing things. If being creative is synonymous with being rebellious then I will own that one too. I am a mould-breaker. I hate being confined or having my hands tied.
“Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence”.
As a teacher of English, Drama and Media, we constantly explore the interplay between the rules and conventions of our subject, and the creativity it brings. Understanding the rules enables understanding of how to break the rules. The Arts subjects encourage you to stop playing it safe, to think as an authentic individual rather than group think as a collective.
I am not a conformist so I guess that is another act of rebellion, the refusal to conform, the resistance to do as expected. I am self-empowered and I am empower others – I encourage others to stand up for themselves, to fight their corners and to challenge the system, to have agency and to act on it.
“Every practice has a set of rules which governs it. Mastery occurs with the
realisation of these rules. Innovation occurs at the point of intelligent and
creative rebellion against them”.
Students, teachers, leaders are guided by a set of rules. Governors uphold the policies and processes which realise these rules. I wonder how creatively rebellious and intelligently innovative everyone is feeling right now? I wonder which guidance school leaders will choose to rebel against in the coming weeks and months?
Disruption can be positive. Disruptive thinking can initiate change. Disruptive leadership can show that there is a different way.
I am hopeful of rebellion. I am hopeful of challenge and change. I anticipate that there is resistance, disruption and agitation to come. The system needs it. The country needs it.
Rebels need hope. Rebels need a cause. Rebels need agency.
Educators have all three in abundance.
There is a difference between Resistance and Rebellion. To resist is to stand firm, to hold the line where as to rebel is to push forwards and to overpower the line. So let’s consider rebelling against rather than resisting authority, control and convention, let’s rebel against rather than resist poor leadership from the government. Let’s own our rebellious streaks.