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Editorial | Who will protect our teachers?

Reacting to an editorial on this paper entitled “Protecting the teachers” published last Nov. 25, Councilor Pilar Braga gave a privilege speech expounding on the issue and clarifying that there should be a “balanced and objective outlook between the teacher and student- when both are aggrieved, both are defended.” We take the liberty of quoting excerpts of her speech:

“Teachers are expected to be role models of morality, values, and good manners and conduct. Teachers are considered “second parents” of our children in school.

“The role of a teacher has become more difficult and complicated over the years. While they are expected to teach our children, their students, good and acceptable behavior and attitude, students (and parents) no longer take the pangs of discipline sitting down. However, if students turn out misbehaving and become unruly and uncontrollable, we parents are quick to point our fingers to the lowly teacher as being incompetent and inefficient.

“Child rearing is finest and foremost a family matter. As the saying goes, “A child is God’s gift to man, what comes out of a child, is man’s gift to God”. Therefore, parents are morally, ethically, and spiritually expected not only to nourish but also to nurture their children as they grow up to be morally, emotionally and intellectually upright individuals of society.

“Teachers on the other hand are mandated by a sense of duty and obligation to teach students, especially in their formative and youthful years the value of responsibility, discipline, patience, honor, honesty, punctuality and a host of other virtues in a classroom where students from all walks of life and upbringing come together… this is where the dilemma begins.

“When accountability is interchanged with abuse of authority, as in the part of some teachers, or when discipline is misinterpreted as humiliation as in the part of some students – that’s when the trouble begins.

“Gone are the days when we allow our teachers to let us stand in the corner or sit in the air because of misdeeds, gone are the days when teachers strike our fingers softly with a ruler when we fail to cut our finger nails or when we are caught cheating… teachers cannot do the same anymore lest they want to be accused of child abuse or trampling upon the rights of the child. Children today boast that they know their rights, but it should not end there. For each given right there comes a responsibility and accountability that goes with it. Students, especially the younger ones should be taught that “sa bawat karapatan ay may ka-akibat ng responsibilidad!”. Children should learn not only to be aware of their rights but they should also learn to respect the rights of their significant others like their family, their friends, their teachers, and the rights of every single human individual on earth.

“If a child’s rights have been violated, parents, relatives and even strangers come to their defense. If a teacher’s rights have been violated she/he immediately gets the ire of the public. Who then protects the rights of our teachers in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities? What if the teachers themselves are being grossly misunderstood, violated, humiliated, or negated, who then will protect our teachers?

“I am a teacher and an educator myself yes, but to say that being a teacher is a very difficult job and demands 101% patience, dedication, sacrifice and perseverance is truly an understatement.

“A teacher is a mother of 20 to 60 students in one classroom. Thus, she needs all the help and consideration that she can get. At the end of the day, a teacher retires to a thankless job where she is often accused of being inefficient, inadequate, bad, weak, ineffective and the name calling goas on. Hence, teachers are victims of cruelty and humiliation themselves. But nobody cares to protect them.

“Who then, will protect our teachers? A penny for your thoughts… we are doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, councilors, public servants today because of our teachers.

“Let me say that teachers, like students are human beings too and like any other, deserve to be treated justly, fairly and humanely.”

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