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The Saint Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU) has expressed outrage at the circulation of a viral video recording in a secondary school classroom featuring a male student at the blackboard with a female teacher, accusing her of not teaching correctly.
“You see that – that wrong. One thirty – that wrong,” the student, protractor in hand at the blackboard, declares in the nine-second video.
The student then switches to Kweyol, uttering words to the effect that the teacher cannot even take a measurement, but wants to teach.
He then turns away from the blackboard, puts down the protractor, and slaps what seemed to be a piece of chalk down on a desk nearby while the teacher stands, practically motionless.
SLTU President Don Howell told reporters Friday that the union got wind of the video late the previous day, sought to determine its authenticity, and reach out to the teacher involved.
“In those things, we also have to be empathetic before we start circulating and spreading or even making statements. We have to be empathetic to the individuals involved,” Howell observed.
He explained that after speaking to and empathising with the teacher, the SLTU contacted the principal and provided advice regarding the next step for the school administration.
But the SLTU President asserted that the incident highlights the matter of student discipline.
In this regard, he declared that a teacher should not have to endure such disrespect in a classroom.
“The teacher is at work. Their conditions of work are supposed to be conducive to allow them to carry out their duties and it is not right that they must endure such levels of indiscipline, such levels of disrespect,” the SLTU President stated.
And he said the SLTU is aware that the Ministry of Education plans to deal with student loitering.
However, Howell disclosed that the union wants the Ministry of Education to make “firm pronouncements” on how it will address student discipline in school to support educators and the work they do.
He explained it was not a fight involving parents, teachers, and the education system.
“We want the entire community to come together and play their part to help us build this next generation of citizens,” Howell said.
He called on all stakeholders, including parents, to work with the schools, teachers, and principals to help deal with the problem of student discipline.
“We are also calling on the Ministry of Education to stand with teachers, to stand with educators in this country, and to make those firm pronouncements as to how they are going to deal with student discipline,” the SLTU President said.
In addition, he said it was unfortunate that the classroom incident occurred on the eve of teachers’ week which runs from October 2 to 9.
“Teachers have gone through a lot over the last few years and to continue going through what they are going through right now, teachers do not deserve that. Teachers are hardworking people and they deserve respect at all levels,” Howell noted.
“We cannot stand and allow our teachers to endure such disrespect,” he stated.
As a result, Howell indicated that the SLTU would continue exploring all its options.
Headline photo: Internet stock image