PYGMALION

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

The au­thor is Teacher

JA­NINE G.DATU

Frenzy (not his real name)is an 18-year old teenager loves to play role play­ing games. He spends most of his day play­ing var­i­ous games on an on­line gam­ing site. He de­scribes him­self as "anti-so­cial" . As a child, he re­called be­ing "one of those kids hav­ing ADD (At­ten­tion Deficit Dis­or­der)". When he was in kinder­garten, af­ter ban al­ter­ca­tion with an­other pupil, Frenzy re­mem­bered his teacher ask­ing ques­tions about his per­sonal life and then send­ing him to a ther­a­pist with­out his par­ents' con­sent. His par­ents were mor­ti­fied by this. Hence, they de­cided to pull out Frenzy from that school and had him placed un­der home school­ing for a year. As he grew older, Frenzy re­mem­bered hav­ing teach­ers who la­belled him as a "dif­fi­cult child". Aside from the oc­ca­sional in­ci­dences of ac­ci­den­tally ru­in­ing school equip­ment (He claims that the dam­ages were mi­nor), he does not re­mem­ber par­tic­u­lar in­ci­dences that could make teach­ers dis­like him so much. He claims that teach­ers hated him so much that his teach­ers ended up pun­ish­ing the en­tire class if he was caught do­ing a mis­de­meanor. As a re­sult, even his class­mates hate him.

Nowa­days, Frenzy ex­presses his fear of grow­ing up. He claims that there is so much un­cer­tainty in his life. He does not even know what to do with his life once he turns 19.

As a teacher and a mother of a 4-month old baby girl, Frenzy's story sad­dened me. I won­dered if his life would be any dif­fer­ent if his teach­ers treated with more kind­ness. It would be heart­break­ing if my daugh­ter was treated the same way as Frenzy did. I can only imag­ine the worry on Frenzy's par­ents as they watch their child live his life with much un­cer­tainty.

Sadly, Frenzy is just one of many chil­dren whose life was made worse by the peo­ple around him. Just like any pro­fes­sion, teach­ing has its perks and chal­lenges. Teach­ers work in a pro­fes­sion that com­pels them to work over­time, and pur­chase school sup­plies from their own pock­ets. They are bom­barded with dead­lines and are pres­sured to at­tain all the tar­gets set by the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion. They are re­quired to sub­mit re­ports and serve mul­ti­ple roles in the com­mu­nity where they teach. Hence, it is easy for the over­worked teacher to la­bel un­ruly chil­dren as hope­less cases and treat them poorly. This can have a se­vere ef­fect on how a child per­ceives him­self later in life. In psy­chol­ogy, there is a phe­nom­e­non that de­scribes how one's ex­pec­ta­tion can af­fect the other per­son's per­for­mance. This is known as the Pygmalion/ Rosen­thal Ef­fect. The pro­po­nent of the study, Rosen­thal, con­ducted an ex­per­i­ment wherein ran­domly se­lected learn­ers were given a test that cat­e­go­rized them as "aca­demic bloomers". The aca­demic progress of these learn­ers were closely mon­i­tored and it was dis­cov­ered that the learn­ers that were clas­si­fied as "aca­demic bloomers" per­formed bet­ter than their peers in later years. It was cor­re­lated by Rosen­thal that their la­belling may have af­fected the learn­ers' self per­cep­tion.

Sim­ply put, a teacher's per­cep­tion of a learner can make or break a learner's fu­ture. With so many tasks be­stowed upon teach­ers, some teach­ers take the eas­ier route. They quickly and harshly dis­miss learn­ers who mis­be­have rather than take their time to gently cor­rect their ways. Teach­ing should never be just about a sub­ject or a re­port. Teach­ing is a vo­ca­tion. It is one of the high­est forms of ser­vicce to the so­ci­ety. It is a path not com­monly cho­sen by learn­ers af­ter they grad­u­ate from high school. It is not a glam­orous pro­fes­sion by any means but its abil­ity to mold peo­ple is in­cred­i­bly strong. Teach­ers can cre­ate lead­ers. Teach­ers can also cre­ate mon­sters that can wreck havoc in so­ci­eties. Take time to com­ple­ment your learn­ers. Ap­pre­ci­ate their achieve­ments. Al­ways give learn­ers an op­por­tu­nity to grow and learn from their mis­takes. Do not al­low your­self to stereo­type learn­ers . A sim­ple com­ple­ment can mean the world for one learner whereas one harsh word can have a dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences on the life of a learner.

I at Del Rosario El­e­men­tary School

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