Teachers should heed students’ cries for help
There are many Kristel Tejadas in our schools, but they appear in different shades, depths and forms. The realities surrounding their lives are seldom identical with what and how they see them as they should be: The do’s and don’ts of parents, the peer pressure, the stringent policies of schools, the demanding or inefficient teachers, the financial difficulties, the family relations—all these can take a toll on growing adolescents who find themselves already neck deep in their difficult struggle to find their identity. Some may go through this phase unscathed, but quite a number emerge with scars that could hamper them later in their adult lives. But some may do a Kristel Tejada.
Classroom teachers are in the frontline. They are in a better position to see when one is having difficulties. Frequent absence from classes/activities, change in academic performance (from good to bad) or consistent failing marks, withdrawal or isolation, rude behavior or any attention-calling acts, and sloppy physical appearance—any and all of them are a call for help. Sometimes, students find the guts to verbalize their anguished feeling, directly or indirectly. “I’m tired, I just want to get away from all these” is a statement one usually hears from a student in dire need of help, especially when such statement becomes frequent.
Teachers hold a pivotal role in the education of students; they can, up to a certain point, prevent a Kristel act. Teachers are equipped with the basic skills of counseling or connecting with students—to make them feel a teacher is there to listen and to help address their problems. Being a friend makes a lot of difference. A kind gesture of caring from a teacher is deeply comforting to a student.
Teachers should be reminded that they are teaching students, not subjects. If education aims for the “total formation” of students, the achievement in subjects is merely a means, not an end, toward that end. Sad, but true, most teachers see themselves as an English teacher or a Math teacher, a physics teacher or whatever they are an expert in, but forget that at the end of the line is what is most important—the recipient of what they are teaching: the student. These teachers fail to see beyond the subject they are teaching, hence, they cannot see or hear the cry for help of a Kristel in the classroom.
Ateneo de Davao
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