Teachers’ dilemma in school

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By Danilo P. Padua, PhD

“ Because of our colonial mentality, the kind of improper behavior described above had permeated our own local classrooms. It’s a dark shadow but some Filipino parents are actually embracing it.”

Very recently, a teacher scolding her students went viral. Fortunately, DepEd Sec Sara Duterte announced that no penalty will be meted to the concerned teacher.
Imagine this classroom situation. The teacher is enthusiastically but seriously teaching a class of 50 students.
While the teacher is talking, some students are talking to each other; others are flying paper planes; still others are sitting improperly at the top or edges of their chairs; many others are throwing small objects at the back of their teacher, writing derogatory things in their notebooks directed to their teacher, and many more. Only a few are intently listening and trying to learn from what the teacher is trying to explain.
Have you seen that scenario before. Yes, in many youth-oriented American movies.
Locally, what do we expect as the reaction of the teacher in such cases?
Because of our colonial mentality, the kind of improper behavior described above had permeated our own local classrooms. It’s a dark shadow but some Filipino parents are actually embracing it.
Now, take note of this. When those guilty of the misdemeanor mentioned above are reprimanded or scolded, they report this to their parent/s but with their story usually opposite to what actually happened. For some justifiable (in the eyes of the parent concerned) reason, the parent marches to the office of the school administrator to lodge a complaint without even digging out the truth. In many instances, the school administrator in turn gently scolds the involved teacher. Why? The complaining parent seems to have influence in the community, never mind if it is good influence or not. And alas, he/she is invoking a certain DepEd Order.
The result: the teacher is revolting inside, the student is openly celebrating, the parent is gleeful with the result, and the administrator is puzzled whether he/she made the right decision.
All that happens because of the DepEd Child Protection Policy spelled out by the DepEd Order No. 40 s. 2012 that came out during the term of Secretary Armin Luistro. Relevant parts of the Order was also ensconced in subsequent laws such as R.A. 7610-Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination.
While the Order and the Laws are generally really good, they contain provisions that will not allow the full intent of the law to be realized.
Under Sec 8 (Duties and responsibilities of school personnel) of the Order, one of the duties states, “Inculcate the value of respect and obedience”. Admittedly, this is good. For this, use non-violent means is the admonition. Do not use any corporal punishment is a further admonition.
Part of the definition of corporal punishment as indicated in the Order includes verbal abuse or assaults including intimidation or threat of bodily harm, swearing or cursing, ridiculing or denigrating a child.
How do you define violent means and non-violent means as far as the Order is concerned? It appears that a simple tap at the fingers of an unruly student is already violent?
Even in the courts of law, some lawyers sometimes resort to the equivalent of “bullying” in grilling witnesses during hearings to intimidate them and extract what they want from them. How will you reconcile that with the “use of non-violent means” of the Order?
Even the Bible is clear on what makes a child a better person some day (hello to another columnist in this paper, Rev. Tabo-oy). The Bible declares that he who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly (Prov 13:24). Nine chapters later in the same book, the unruly child should be corrected, it says: Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him (Prov 22:15).
Reading through the Dep Ed order, which is still in operation, it seems **


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