If you’re living in the Philippines, most likely, you’ve been in school as early as five years old. Some parents even send their children to school at age three. So if you’ve finished school, with that I mean from kindergarten to university, then you’ve been in school for around 16 to 17 years (but up to 18 or 19 years for those who went under the K-12 system). Some maybe even had more than that for some reason like delayed graduation.
For so many years being in school, we think of our teachers as gatekeepers devoid of feelings. They are the ones who can either make us get our diploma or keep us from finishing school. They are the ones who give us grades, the ones who always look for every mistake we get and mark us in red ink when we do. They are the ones who label us in class: who the brightest kid is, the slowest kid is, the average ones are. We think of our teachers as someone who can help us navigate our way to adulthood, our future, and towards the realization of our dreams. But we never see them as parents, as brothers, as sisters, or as friends we deeply care about. We often see them as unfeeling people in a teacher’s uniform. They get angry, yes, but only when we did something wrong about school. They feel happy about us, yes, but only because we did something good in class.
I want to be honest with you, it only struck me that teachers are also humans like us when I landed my first job. When my friends chose to become teachers, I learned about their sentiments regarding students who belittled them, disrespected them, and treated them like equals in a demeaning way.
I realized that teachers are just like our parents, our sisters, our brothers, our friends. They’re all just trying to make ends meet and teaching is the role they chose to play. It’s so easy to bad-mouth and disrespect teachers when we dehumanize them and treat them only as gatekeepers of our future.
So the next time you feel like disrespecting your teachers or talk behind their backs, remember your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, and your neighbors. Think of them as someone dear to you. If you begin to see them that way, you won’t allow anyone to talk badly about them, even yourself. Who knows you’ll become a teacher one day. And you’ll finally understand what I mean.
PS: I am so sorry for all the teachers I spoke badly of, even in my head. And thank you so much for helping me become who I am now.
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