READER’S VIEWS - The Freeman

On account of COVID-19 pandemic, the national government through the IATF-MEID in coordination with the Department of Education, allowed only virtual or online classes between teachers and students instead of the traditional face-to-face classes. This means that learners and educators are in distant communication linkage with each other using modern communication tools like desktop computers, laptops, smart phones, etc.

Lately, the government announced that face-to-face classes will be conducted at selected public schools in cities and provinces of the country where COVID-19 cases are no longer considered in critical level.

Today’s new generation of students are so fortunate to have at their disposal the modern means of communication that helps them acquire the needed knowledge and information in the course of their studies.

In this digital age, students are admittedly well-versed in using modern means of communication. They can perform typing work very fast, browse the internet with ease and be able to finish their research on time. But behind all these, it is not a remote possibility that they may come to the point of underestimating their teacher's limited knowledge in using modern communication devices.

Ninth-grade students bullying their Math teacher at the Abellana National School just because the latter failed to immediately provide them the needed link of the module being requested is nothing, but a blatant disrespect and dishonor to their teacher. In a group chat conversation, the students said, "Hay, nako, giatay, makasapot, bogo" -- harsh words that inevitably reveal the true character of the students.

In spite of the humiliating experience that he encountered, the Math teacher remained non-vindictive. We never heard him uttering expletives in response to his students' bullying. He opted to remain silent, apparently imbued with a lackadaisical attitude of taking revenge against his disrespectful students, so to speak. What a good example this teacher had shown to his students!

The moral damage the students inflicted on their teacher are so great that no amount of apology or retraction could compensate for the damage being done. Even the teacher's daughter disagreed with the school administration's decision punishing them with a three-day suspension in the online class. She opined that a longer suspension or dismissal should have been meted out on them. When she messaged her father, he simply replied, "Sige lang dae basin naa silay problema sa ilaha."

In fairness to the public school mentioned above, I think it has its own policy or the school discipline rules of procedure dealing with cyberbullying. However, what transpired serves as an eye opener for the School Administration Officials to revisit the school's policy and make the necessary changes/amendments if so warrants.

Students should show profound respect to their teachers even if the latter do not know anything about the use of computers and the internet. Modern means of communication devices are really indispensable to give the students the best education that they want. But definitely, they can never substitute the significant role of the teachers in nurturing and educating the students to become God-fearing and law-abiding individuals. Teachers are irreversibly superior to computers.

Joselito S. Berdin

Lapu-Lapu City

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