When I was in grade 5, one of my teachers was a woman in her 50’s who throughout the school year never taught us anything. I can’t remember which subject she was supposed to teach but I assume it was social studies. This happened in a public school.
What I mean by ‘she never taught us anything’ is literally she never stood in front of the class to teach a lesson. Everyday when our class of 50+ pupils entered her room (teachers were each assigned a classroom and we had to transfer from one room to another for each subject; this was in the 90’s) she would just sit down in front of us the entire time and make us buy the peanuts, candies and other food items she was selling. She would assign two students to peddle her merchandise around while we sat and did acrostics, which we did not really understand but it didn’t matter because she never inspected our papers anyway. She was very strict too. We were forbidden to talk to each other while we were in her ‘class’ doing acrostics. That’s exactly what transpired day after day the whole year.
Needless to say, it was a complete rip-off of the taxpayers’ money and an assault on the children’s education. She was essentially getting paid to make us dumb. It was an extreme case because she did not open her mouth to teach, but I also had teachers in that same elementary school who we never really learned from even though they opened their mouths.
In grade 2, I had another teacher who required us to buy her homemade sandwiches everyday. We had a choice between a ham and a peanut butter sandwich, the latter of which I detested. I forgot how she made it obligatory but I knew it had something to do with our grades.
That’s another extreme case because I can’t recall any other teacher who required us to buy their food items, but the other enterprising teachers who did not require us to buy their merchandise were not doing something appropriate either.
One time there was this man who went from classroom to classroom selling a kind of ash that can polish coins. He had the principal’s permission to do it, which the teacher evidently knew because when the man interrupted our class, she did half of the sales talk, saying the proceeds would go to the man’s co-detainees in a prison somewhere. It’s confusing because he was a free man, but he certainly looked like a legit inmate. Some of the students, including myself, bought his epektus which was packaged in a small plastic bag (like the ones used in sari sari stores to pack tawas), and boy was I happy to take that powder home. It really did polish every coin that I rubbed it on! Looking back, however, I knew the principal made a kickback from that business venture.
It wasn’t an isolated case, either. That kind of thing didn’t happen very often but it wasn’t surprising for individuals like that to interrupt classes to sell their wares.
For teachers to make customers out of their students was not an uncommon thing during my elementary school days. I’d like to think the situation in public schools has changed in that regard but even if it has, some of the teachers will always have a means to express their filethic, such as in their sneaky attempts to avoid work and assigning useless school projects that take away from the children’s time and financial resources. Whenever there’s an opportunity for corruption, the teachers are not the last ones to jump in. I’m not saying everyone’s corrupt, of course, so don’t be hurt if you or a loved one is an honest teacher.
One of the best ways to teach is to teach by example. Sadly, it’s also the best way to teach filethic to children. But the bulk of the damage is actually done by teachers who teach filogic by example, which I’m going to write about in future posts.