I was never fond of my Physical Education teacher since he told the class “the slimmer, the better“, in reference to body size, on our very first lesson with him. He even said “look at all the famous people – are any of them fat?“.
Today was the final straw for me, and I spoke up against him because I couldn’t take it any longer after he said that psychological disorders are the same thing as insanity. The first thing I said upon raising my hand was, “Excuse me Sir, but with all due respect, I just want to point out that insanity isn’t the same thing as having a psychological issue and having a psychological disorder doesn’t mean that that person is insane; you can’t even define insane.”
He started to talk about how “insanity” was an opinion, which basically meant that his opinion was that those with psychological disorders are crazy. I pointed that out, he said “yes”, so I asked him “so you’re saying that I’m crazy?” and he started twisting his words around, trying to defend himself. I stopped listening to his pathetic excuses and blocked his voice out as he tried to explain to the class what he meant.
After the lesson, he said he wanted to “talk” to me.
He said that he didn’t mean it personally, and he didn’t mean to offend me either. I explained myself to him, saying that I knew it was not personal but I simply cannot stand it when people assume that having psychological disorders is the same thing as being insane.
It was then that he said what angered me the most, “I was trying to put ‘psychological disorders’ into simple words for your classmates“.
I started to raise my voice, which I admit was wrong on my part, and I said, “So you’re teaching the class that having psychological disorders is the same thing as being insane?”
The spat then ended when my friend pulled me out of the classroom.
Before the quarrel, however, he was talking about eating disorders. I would like to point out that he did NOT have his facts straight – he said that forgetting to eat because you’re too busy doing homework is considered as anorexia nervosa, and he completely forgot about bulimia and EDNOS (he said that there were two forms of eating disorders: anorexia and binge eating) until I mentioned it.
He also said that one cause of anorexia is society’s perception of beauty, which is true, but he was the one who said “the slimmer, the better”. What is he trying to say?
In a nutshell, I just want to make it clear that
(1) Having a psychological disorder does NOT make someone insane
(2) Teachers should know what they’re teaching, and teach the right facts and values
How can we have such an ignorant person teaching the adults of tomorrow? How can the stigma on mental illnesses EVER be removed if students are taught that “psychological disorder = insane”?
also read: 8 Things You Can Do to Fight Mental Health Stigma (Silver Ribbon Singapore)