“The teacher who lost her phone has gotten it back. Can I get my daughter back too?”
The words of a grieving mother as I watched the evening news yesterday has been ringing in my ears since.
Just like many other things these days, the tragedy could have been avoided… only if our society had more sensitivity and the ability to emphatize.
I felt sad, angry and I could almost feel her devastation.
It was true. The teacher who lost her fancy mobile phone had recovered it but the loss of a life over a material possession could never be replaced.
So what happened? Basically, a teacher lost her expensive mobile phone, needed an explanation and the student got accused. Easy way out.
Student felt scared and reacted. Only, her reaction was extreme in an attempt to prove her innocence. She paid with her own life.
The tragedy raised many question marks. What could have pushed a thirteen-year-old student to such a decision? Where did she learn that? And why was the teacher carrying such an expensive mobile phone around in school? What was she teaching?
Makes us wonder the lessons we ought to learn in life. Or schools.
These days, the stereotype that teaching does not make lucrative salaries does not seem to ring true any more. Teachers after all can afford to carry expensive phones and drive luxury cars to school to teach. Many teachers are the envy of their colleagues and students as they parade their riches and “happiness” around.
Teachers are supposed to be the role model of others for their wisdom and knowldege, things no money can buy.
When I was in school, my friends and I would admire teachers who taught well, who led simple lives and the only things we were punished for were over some small mischiefs. But these days, things have become so complicated. Why?
Come to think of it, it was a petty thing. Student got blamed for allegedly stealing teacher’s phone but she took her own life. Would the same thing have happened if it was a simple phone of a different value?
Are we all succumbing to life’s pressures and the need for validation of others? What has happened to the good old days when life was less complex?
And then comes the pertinent question. What has triggered such an extreme reaction to a petty blame? Where did a young teenager get such an idea?
Now the teacher is going to live a life carrying this burden until her death. Her student died because of her accusation. It will not be easy.
Already, the teacher is being called names on social media by netizens, angered over such an easily avoidable incident.
But who are we to blame? As human beings, the easier way out is to put all the blame on others but ourselves. We only react after things have happened and sometimes that is just too late.
If only we could take a step back, reflect on our values and goals in life. Rethink what we have learnt.
How has education helped us? Maybe it is time we learn to unlearn in order for us to relearn to accept that we are not the perfect human beings we once thought we were.
Put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Emphatize and the world would be a much better place. Before we jump to conclusions, always try to put ourselves in someone else’s situation.
And perhaps, our education system has failed to make us practice what we preach? Perhaps…