The teachers’ fear; navigating the perils of social media in education

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by Ronalyn R. Buanse

Would you still choose to teach in a society obsessed with social media?
For me, a teaching career wasn’t just a profession; it was the realization of a childhood dream. The journey to becoming a teacher was arduous, often requiring traversing hills and mountains barefoot, lugging a heavy backpack filled with six to eight books, notebooks, packed lunch, and water. Back then, education seemed like an impossible feat due to the inaccessibility of schools and financial constraints. Yet, with unwavering determination, courage, and the steadfast support of my family, I managed to overcome these hurdles and complete my education.
After graduation, I eagerly started my teaching journey in our hometown, pouring my passion, dedication, and hard work into providing the quality education every young mind deserves. I took pride in my noble and fulfilling profession.
However, as the years passed, the rise of social media transformed the landscape of education, turning once-noble classrooms into daunting battlegrounds. Teachers found themselves navigating the complex maze of social media, where education, beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes are constantly challenged by disinformation, fake news, and biased content.
In the Philippines, social media has played a significant role in raising awareness about global issues, fostering engagement, and influencing government policies, particularly in the field of education. While its impact on society’s collective consciousness is undeniable, it comes with its own set of pitfalls. The influx of unchecked and sensationalized information can lead to a society blinded to truth and due process.
Amidst this social media scrutiny, teachers, entrusted with the crucial task of shaping young minds, have become increasingly vulnerable. Various school personnel have been unfairly judged and penalized based on stories and videos circulating on social media platforms. Consequently, the once-revered teaching profession is now riddled with challenges and trauma, turning the classroom, once a sanctuary for nurturing young minds, into a space under constant surveillance, akin to a 24-hour CCTV camera ready to capture and expose every move to the public eye.
This transformation reflects a broader societal shift where teachers are no longer just educators but subjects of public scrutiny. The narratives of abusive or incompetent teachers amplified through social media overshadow the countless dedicated educators who strive to make a positive impact on their students.
In the face of these challenges, teachers find themselves grappling with the irony of their profession—a calling driven by passion and dedication, now tainted by the fear of public scrutiny. As society deals with the ramifications of social media on truth and justice, it must underscore the importance of a balanced and discerning approach to information consumption.
Furthermore, there is an urgent need to bolster laws safeguarding and benefitting teachers to ensure their protection from abusive parents and students. In tandem with this call for governmental support, parents must also become allies to teachers, fostering education and instilling discipline in their children. Otherwise, the country will suffer from a scarcity of teachers in the future.
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