“No Enemy” poem written by Charles Mackay.
You have no enemies, you say?
Alas! my friend, the boast is poor;
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes! If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never turned the wrong to right,
You’ve been a coward in the fight.
Anyone who does anything of substance creates enemies. Most people enjoy the status quo. It’s easy. It’s safe. It’s also never led to progress of any kind.
Progress comes from pushing the envelope. Progress comes from being uncomfortable. Both of these things can elicit a visceral negative reaction from people.
Education is all about the status quo. Many teachers are still teaching the way they were taught. To suggest any type of new pedagogy is often met with fear and trepidation, even if it is backed by research.
Such pushback to new ideas can lead to creating enemies. If all you want is friends in life then you will never do anything new. Now that doesn’t mean you have to be negative or aggressive with your ideas. It doesn’t mean you should attack others who disagree with you.
It does mean you have to be comfortable walking alone for a while. It means you have to be willing to hear negative things said about you. It means you have to be ok with having enemies.
Are you willing to create enemies to do what is right for your students?