A Man Alone: An Episode Divided

A veritable lynch-mob has formed to take out their own form of justice on the base’s resident shapeshifter of unknown (even to himself) origins, and Keiko O’Brien’s primary concern is making the place suitable for raising her daughter. Yeah. I’m not buying that.

No sane parent — with an option for living somewhere that doesn’t have lynch-mobs forming at the drop of hat — would choose to stay put in a place where they have to invent a job for themselves. Teaching is a job, you say? According to Deep Space 9, it isn’t.

According to Deep Space 9 you don’t need to go to school to become a teacher and Starfleet doesn’t even prioritize making sure there’s a teacher and or school set up at any outpost where their officers and citizens happen to be raising their families. According to Deep Space 9 there are absolutely zero obstacles for a botanist — arguably one of the most important jobs in space because it’s so closely linked to the issue of food and, by the strictest of associations, survival — to make a sudden career change after previously devoting one’s academic career to getting a friggin’ doctorate.

It’s times like these I want to scream and shout and claw somebody’s eyes out. Did you know that — as I write this — new teachers last an average 1.5 years before they burn out and run for the hills a whole new career? We’ve made it so bad that new teachers on average can’t even manage to finish their second school-year of teaching, that’s how badly they need to get the hell out.

Yet here is a work of fiction, an amazing and ancient tool for the instruction of empathy, showing us how easy it is to become a teacher and be a teacher and give children exactly what they need without breaking a sweat and to get the tools you need to do it all. It’s no wonder we treat our teachers terribly. We aren’t being shown what their lives are really like, we aren’t being taught empathy for those entrusted with our young minds.

There is one good thing in this whole episode. Keiko appealed to a Ferengi’s competitive nature by talking about how a Starfleet education could give his kid a leg up over other business associates.

Funny. I don’t think the writer of this episode knew that — by putting those words in her mouth — they were making her as much a peddler of snake-oil as any Ferengi merchant she might come across thanks to the Federation.