My commentary re the viral DepEd teacher who berated students live on TikTok

My commentary re the viral DepEd teacher who berated students live on TikTok

A public school teacher uploaded a video of herself on social media site Tiktok late last week while berating her students in the classroom because of their unruly and disrespectful behavior.

Hindi ako nag-board exam para lang hindi irespeto ng mga katulad niyong wala pa namang nararating sa buhay. Hindi na nga kayo matalino, sama pa ng ugali ninyo (I did not take the licensure exam for teachers only to be disrespected by people like you who have not achieved anything in life. Apart from being unintelligent, you are also bad-mannered),” the teacher can be heard saying in the video. The recording has gone viral on social media, eliciting largely negative reactions against the teacher.

Assistant Secretary Francis Bringas of the Department of Education (DepEd) earlier today confirmed to GMA News that the public school teacher is indeed based in Metro Manila, but he declined to give her name because the agency is already investigating the matter.

It is very likely that the teacher would be subjected to disciplinary action from DepEd and maybe even from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) for her conduct. She can potentially be held liable for violating provisions stipulated under Republic Act 7620 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and many other pertinent DepEd rules and regulations. Given all these, she is still entitled to due process.

Nevertheless, there are several essential points that all education stakeholders should reflect on from this episode. Rightly or wrongly, people have high expectations on how teachers should present themselves in public – and that needless to say includes social media. I have been teaching since 2012, and the question of whether I am already oversharing on social media regarding my professional and personal life and everything in between is something that I grapple with constantly. Truth be told, way too many teachers do silly things on social media for the sake of clout-chasing.

The more important issue that must also be discussed here concerns the problem of dealing with extremely disrespectful students. I was a public school teacher for five years and I am telling you, there are instances where you will really just snap. For example, when you are assigned to handle sections with mostly-male students, you would really rethink your career choices.

There are way too many students who are more interested with chatting with seatmates or focusing on their phones even if my voice is already cracking because of long hours of lecturing. There are also those who talk to their teachers just like how they talk to their friends. Making things worse, I felt that I always have the short end of the stick in the context of sections assigned to me especially during the early years. Maybe I was at an added disadvantage because I am young and non-intimidating.

Admittedly, there had been numerous instances where I really got mad with my students but I eventually had to remind myself that I get paid anyway even if they don’t listen to me and that even if I drop dead in front of them out of anger, they won’t really care about me and that my position would be occupied by someone else soon after. And so when I had the opportunity to have a career outside the public school system, I did not think twice.

I hope I don’t sound like an apologist for that stupid cloud-chasing teacher who broadcasted her performative rage/outburst on Tiktok. She deserves to be investigated. My point here is that people need to be more emphathetic to the plight of public school teachers. Believe me, we’re trained to be the most patient people on earth! But we have our limits too.

Many say that our work is lighter because we don’t have an eight-hour shift everyday and that we enjoy vacations. That’s misguided, actually. What’s primarily paid is just the contact hours with the students, but so do much work outside official time – from preparing lessons and exams, checking papers, answering repetitive queries from students, etc. But it is what it is.

We know all that the moment we chose to be in this profession. Nevertheless, we can make the work environment better, with the help of school administrators, our colleagues, our students, and even their parents.

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Mark Pere Madrona

The Filipino Scribe (TFS) is managed by Mark Pere Madrona, a multi-awarded writer and licensed professional teacher from the Philippines. Mr. Madrona earned his master’s degree in history from the University of the Philippines-Diliman last 2020. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in journalism cum laude from the same university back in 2010. His area of interests includes Philippine journalism, history, and politics as well as social media. Know more about him here:

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