Tell it to SunStar: Viral video of teacher, manifestation of a bigger problem

Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

By Teachers’ Dignity Coalition chairman Benjo Basas

It is natural for every teacher to be loving, understanding, caring and compassionate for children. No person can be a teacher without possessing these qualities. Therefore, it pains us when some of our colleagues face accusations of abuse due to their passionate teaching of both lessons and necessary discipline.

Recently, a video of an alleged teacher went viral. The video shows a woman in a teacher’s uniform lecturing students whom she claims lack respect. The children are not visible or audible in the video, but the teacher appears to be aware she’s being recorded on her own phone as she occasionally looks at it. In that two-minute video, the woman can be heard using foul language.

If indeed the woman is a teacher capturing a portion of her actual class in video, there is a possibility that she erred. However, we appeal not to quickly judge the teacher based solely on the two-minute video. We need to understand the full context, and the appropriate authorities, especially the Department of Education (DepEd), should investigate.

We want to remind everyone that there is a bigger problem at hand with this viral video. And that is the matter of discipline in schools and its place in the overall state of our education, especially in public schools.

In a classroom setting, discipline is indispensable. Children need discipline to learn. Unfortunately, the ability to discipline children is rendered obsolete by the classification of almost all forms of discipline as child abuse in our existing policies. Teachers are always at a disadvantage.

Regulation on our teachers is excessive: We have the DepEd Child Protection Policy, Anti-Child Abuse Law (Republic Act 7610), and other policies. We acknowledge these, and as teachers, we also believe that the state has an obligation to protect children, wherever they may be. However, these policies should not be used against our teachers. Teachers must also be protected from those who would take advantage of these policies to harm us and make us their victims. We could cite several incidents in which teachers were falsely accused, scandalized, humiliated, intimidated, or even detained for minor or honest mistakes or simply for carrying out their official responsibilities.

We call on executive and legislative agencies to institutionalize the needed protection for our teachers. While we will never tolerate any wrongdoing by our colleagues in the profession, we will defend their right to due process, enshrined not only in the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers but also in the Constitution.

We propose the following for the consideration of both Houses of Congress, DepEd, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Budget and Management, the Philippine National Police, the Civil Service Commission, and all other relevant government agencies:

1. Reduce the class size to a maximum of 30 students per classroom;

2. Provide higher salaries, a lighter workload, and sick and vacation leave benefits for classroom teachers for their physical and mental health to ensure a stable work-life balance for them;

3. Create more Special Education (Sped) centers and hire Sped teachers based on needs;

4. Professionalize the school guidance and counseling system and hire registered guidance counselors with a salary grade based on their qualifications;

5. Institutionalize alternative school discipline policies agreed upon by school administrators, teachers, parents and learners;

6. Amend certain provisions of RA 7610;

7. Formulate a clear-cut policy to protect teachers from harassment, intimidation, physical threats, extortion and media sensationalization;

8. Provide free legal assistance and counsel to teachers facing administrative and criminal charges;

9. Conduct massive and substantial training on the positive discipline approach; and

10. Review the DepEd Child Protection Policy and craft the protection of our teachers as well.

We believe that implementing these proposals will not only benefit teachers and provide them with protection, but also ensure that our students receive proper guidance and protection as well, thus, aiding in the further advancement and improvement of our country’s education.


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.