Malilong: Teacher mad but not stupid

IT WAS long but it was not boring. PNoy's 6th was the first State of the Nation Address (Sona) I watched from start to finish without feeling the need for an intermission.

Like so many others, I felt uncomfortable when Presdent Noynoy Aquino began making references to the past administration. But eventually, I realized that he was defining the starting point of his administration's journey. The comparisons between his and the Arroyo administration, which to some people sounded like a broken record, were necessary for purposes of performance measurement.

A point can be made against Aquino's not mentioning the Freedom of Information (FOI) during his address since the FOI law was one of his campaign promises. It is indeed disappointing that with barely 10 months left of his term, he still has not prodded Congress to pass the law.

However, I do not think Sen. Grace Poe is the right person to publicly complain about the the absence of a Freedom of Information act until now since she is a member of the Congress that sat and continues to sit on the proposed measure. Poe should address her misgivings to her colleagues instead.

My point is that the legislators do not need any prodding from anyone, not even from Aquino, in order to act on the FOI or, for that matter, any bill. The practice of the President certifying a bill as urgent is being used by Congress as a convenient excuse for its failure. What a shame.

***

A high school teacher in Moalboal is "in hot water," according to a Sun.Star Cebu report, for making her students lift their wooden armchairs and place them on their heads for six minutes on June 23.

Holy cow, shouldn't the parents be grateful to Buena Floramie Ibay Milan instead? She did not do it without a reason and while her method of disciplining may seem unorthodox, the students were none the worse for wear after serving their penalty. In fact, they might have learned a valuable lesson or two in behavior from their experience if only the parents had not unnecessarily meddled.

Those are eight-graders (the equivalent of second year high school before K+12), we're talking about, not children of tender age for whom a chair is really a burden. Obviously, none of those punished sustained any physical harm or the parents would have put this at the front of their litany of Ms. Milan's sins.

The teacher must have thought of that, too -- the risk of injury to the students -- and determined that there was none before she lowered the boom on them. She may have been mad but she was not stupid to not know the consequences. So what's the big deal?

I am a product of the public school system. I have had my share of corporal punishment from my teachers but neither I nor my parents bore a grudge against them.

I know many who, like me, are grateful to our teachers for setting us in the right path through lessons that we could not forget because they were so painful.

I am not suggesting that we return to that era where the teacher can hit your butt or your palm with a ruler for being naughty but we should allow him some freedom and more creativity in enforcing discipline beyond making a child stand in the corner while class is going on (or is that prohibited now, too?).

I hated martial law except for a few things. One of those that I liked was the slogan: Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.

Discipline is supposed to start at home. But, as the lawyers are wont to say, in default thereof, there is the school.

(frankotherside@gmail.com)

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