June 13 officially marked the first day of school in the public school system for SY 2016-2017. This school year is a special one for this is the start of Grade 11 under the K to 12 curriculum. Expect that during the first days of every school year, complaints and a whole variety of concerns will flood the schools, the division offices and even the Central Office. In fact, the Central Office of the Department of Education yearly sets up the Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE) Information and Action Center to help with education concerns and facilitate the smooth start of the school year.
It has been almost a week since the class started in the public school system. I remember the very same events from five years ago when I had my first teaching job in the secondary level. It was a whole different thing when I was tasked to sit in for student registration and to do several responsibilities to make sure that students and parents are served well and that they get the best experience possible. It is a tough job for anybody who is at the frontline of the organization especially teachers and school staff who deal with hundreds, if not thousands, of students and their parents. The roles of teachers and school personnel have become increasingly difficult today, they are expected not just to serve students but sometimes part of this big responsibility includes attending to parents and their conditions that only serve their own interests. At least in my experience, and of the handful of teachers I know, the role of being the school’s ‘primary’ clientele is mostly abused.
Most complaints, perhaps, that are made by students and their parents often center to the teacher. However, assessing the validity of these complaints are not always considered and the teachers are the ones who suffer. There are those who will challenge you, intimidate you and coerce you to go against your principles in life. But it is always the teachers who are put at a bad light in the society. “It’s always a teacher factor” should no longer be applied absolutely in all cases pertaining to education. We are all accountable—whether we are teachers, parents, or students. We all have our fair share on the consequences of our actions. I can name a number of instances which illustrate this but I can leave it for your own reflection. This can also be a reason for teacher marginalization. If this is not addressed in the next few years, more teachers will surely find themselves stepping out of the teaching profession for good.
House Bill No. 5735 also known as Student Discipline and Teacher Protection Act was filed by ACT Party List representative, Antonio L. Tinio in 2015. The bill seeks to “lay down institutional support mechanisms for teachers and school personnel in matters of classroom management and student discipline” and to “protect teachers and school personnel in cases related to student discipline and classroom management, including legal assistance and representation by counsel and union or association representatives”. Should this bill was enacted into law, teachers and school personnel will have a more defined rights that protect them from all forms of injustices that happen in their workplace. Past laws cater most to “teachers attending to student’s rights and needs” and it’s about time that teachers and school personnel be protected too. Let us uphold teachers’ rights to equitable treatment and fair judgment of the society.
What does your school or organization do to solve this imbalance?