Lecturer In The Afternoon, Rapper In The Evening. Deep Interview On Education With Czech Jakub Studeny

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Interview with elements of analysis of modern educational system told by an ordinary Czech fellow. Jakub Studeny is also known under the stage name IronKap. He is a young teacher of computer science and economics and a rapper in the one skin. Back in the day he had worked in the economic department of a large pharmaceutical company in Prague, but he didn’t enjoy that job at all. A successful musician decided to become a teacher and devote part of his life to profession, which, as you know, is something more than just an ordinary job. Basically, we asked Kuba (short for Jakub) about whether anything changes in his looks when IronKap appears as a teacher or if the teaching career influences his popularity in music.

Now that you have come over to the other side of the education system how do feel about new forms of education and are they here at all or are the teachers still the same fossils as ten or twenty years ago?

To be honest I think it´s all coming together now. When I was still in secondary school the teacher would come into the classroom where he had this horrible hundred-year-old blackboard where with a piece of chalk he wrote notes he hadn’t changed for years and his sources were books that were totally out of date. Nowadays it´s starting to change and universities are using interactive boards connected with tablets. Finally these technologies are getting over here and it benefits children who have known how to handle phones, tablets, PCs since babyhood. It´s true that books are stepping aside along with the whole traditional approach to education. I would say a whole new era that cannot be stopped is emerging. That´s progress. And it is nonsense to insist on kids, pupils, students reading just books and not learning from other sources and watching a disgusting green-grey blackboard when we can have interactive screens that are far more effective than cleaning the blackboard with a dirty sponge all the time. The disadvantage is that young teachers who should be the innovators are not rushing into it and they prefer to take over set models from their older colleagues. It´s simpler for them. They teach their 45 minutes and that´s it. They don´t add any of their own initiative and individual approach, they just copy what has been set and proven here for years.

What do you think causes this?

Generally I think it is caused by financial realities that are set by the government here. The financial rewards for initiative are too slight. At university we convinced ourselves this factor was overdrawn, when we were deciding to go into teaching. But it really isn´t a job for everybody, I remember my classmates being afraid to speak in front of a class of eighteen- and nineteen- year-old students, and they seemed terribly shy. Students can sense uncertainty and when they do, they literally tear you to pieces. All I need is to remember how I was as a student. You need to have natural respect and authority, especially if you are to present something. For example forced authority never has much effect, at least that´s how I felt it. The more someone tried to show me that he is the boss, the less respect he had from me. The best situation is when the teachers are so-called cool but at the same time also are kind of tough, such teachers have always been successful with students. But you cannot learn this, you need to have it naturally inside you. 

What kind of teacher will you be?

Well based on the appraisals from the college lecturers, I have a certain authority in me, but so far I have familiarity problems with students. It´s a thing I should get rid of in my teaching otherwise the students will literally „eat me up“. If I keep an eye on that I don´t have problems with authority. Just look at me, with my appearance, height and build I usually don´t have problems with respect even outside the school, which is an advantage (smiles). I don´t want to be too familiar with students, that´s not good. I also hate people being arrogant, such people don´t have a chance with me.

What do you think about uniforms at schools? In the Czech Republic they are not compulsory and besides a few exceptions you don´t see them here.

I don´t see compulsory wearing of uniforms at schools as a totally wrong idea. But I would implement it because of social differences for younger children at basic schools, where pupils can suffer from what their parents basically let them wear to school and they can often become the laughing stock. At their age they don´t know how to defend themselves appropriately. We know how little children can be cruel to each other. But even if we make attire uniform there will still be differences in for example electronics, cellphones, what they can do in their free time, but it can be a pen that shows who has got more money here.

At secondary schools I think that everybody can have an influence and present themselves individually. They can also contribute financially to their clothing expenditures because at this age young people have opportunities to earn money.

Are there differences between the way teachers dress and the way students dress?

Definitely there are, but not much in style, but more in the fact that many teachers don´t know how to dress with taste and what´s even more men often look overall untidy. That concerns mainly the older ones. The new generation of teachers is better off, they look smart. It´s true that sometimes the difference between a teacher and his student gets eliminated. It´s hard to categorize it, it´s highly individual. In my case for example there will be no difference. I even met students who were wearing exactly the same things that I was wearing. Lots of people nowadays wear our Trouble brand gang things. I met a boy at one school wearing our Trouble gang cap. I tell him, „hey, a good cap“, and the guy immediately starts asking if it´s me and what I´m doing there. When I told him I would be teaching there he was really amazed. When it then got around that it´s really me, during the second lesson on the computers I could see them watching my clips. 

How will you solve the confrontation between your identity as a rapper and what you must be at school?

The only possibility is to completely cut it off. On the stage I´m a rapper, but at school I´m a teacher, and what I do in my free time is my business and doesn´t belong in school. Most musicians have a job now and music is their hobby. I know punkers who are managers etc. We are grown-ups who have to make a living for ourselves and our families. Private life doesn´t belong in the workplace.

Photo: From the archive of the author

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