I WAS a secondary school teacher for 20 years (nine years in St. Joseph Academy and 11 years at Dona Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School). When I embraced the teaching profession after I finished Artium Baccalaureus with units in Education, I made a promise to be an excellent teacher ... and I did.
Despite of so many awards (including the “Most Outstanding Secondary School Teacher of Silay”), I would like to confess that like other teachers I also committed venial and mortal sins in my classroom management. It was my passion to motivate students to become achievers by giving their best in all the tasks I have given them. For that, they have learned to love and hate me.
I wanted them to come on time, submit their assignment on time and develop a study habit that will make them masters of time. After all, timeliness is next to Godliness. God doesn’t want us to be late in doing good. Discipline is an integral part of timeliness.
Our teachers have contributed in our growth and development that have been started by our parents and the community where we belong. When we were in the elementary grades, some of our teachers would romantically strike our tiny fingers with a ruler if our fingernails were dirty. In high school, we were sent out by the Father Director because we were noisy. In college, we were made to squat at the corridor by our ROTC instructor because we failed to follow orders.
Teachers do not have the intention to punish their pupils and students. If there are cruel teachers, they are just the limited species belonging to the sociopath society. It is the obligation of the teachers to educate, inform and ... reform the students if needed. Discipline is the training of mind and character. Students and pupils should start a mode of life in accordance with rules.
In my classes, it is indicated in my lesson plan that we should have group dynamics wherein students should talk, agree or disagree on the issues at hand. Many students consider thinking and talking as punishment. My activity includes ‘The Saviour Game’. Those who are standing should wait for someone who can answer the question. He is the ‘Saviour’.
I also used ‘arriba-abajo’ method in identifying good students during class recitation. Anyone who can answer will have ‘arriba’ (to occupy the front seat). Those who cannot answer will have ‘abajo’ (to take back seats). In less than a month, I knew who among my students are really good. I gave the slow learners the opportunity to catch up by improving their self-esteem.
Teachers who have problems in having order in the classroom should study and implement effective strategies. Pupils and students expect their teachers to be fluent in English or Filipino. Teachers need charm, theatrical skills and sense of humor in conducting classes. Teachers who are dead shrimps may lose respect of their class.
If parents have valid complaints against the teachers, they have to see the principal first for proper disposition. Do not go to the radio announcer or TV celebrity to drumbeat the situation. A sane dialog will have a win-win solution. Teachers are not perfect but they are always there for your children.