The National, Monday October 14th, 2013
TEACHERS in Catholic agency schools have been challenged to be the best person and a great example to the children they are teaching and forming for life.
The challenge from the Archbishop of Madang, Stephen Reichert, was made in a letter dated Sept 11, 2013, under the subject “Teacher absenteeism in PNG is child abuse”.
He said: “Teachers who are absent from the classroom day after day, or even occasionally, are guilty of child abuse too.
“They are neglecting children put in their care. It is wrong.
“This is a serious matter since it can leave the little ones intellectually handicapped for life. Absentee teachers also betray the trust of the parents of their students.”
He told them to work hard, prepare well and be a dedicated teachers in the classroom.
“Young people observe you, their teacher, very carefully both in and out of the classroom, seven days a week. They talk about you among themselves. After all they are trying to learn how they should behave as they grow up,” Reichert said.
“So, obviously, your behaviour as a married man or woman, father and mother of a family, or as a single mature adult person, is of great importance.”
He urged teachers to ensure parents understood that the responsibility of educating children belonged primarily to parents.
“You teachers should remind parents of this when you gather them for meetings and when you have other occasions to speak to parents. I try to do this from time to time myself when I preach at Mass in church.
“Later, as children grow up, their parents need help from others to provide good education for their children.
“So we have schools where professionally trained teachers, like you, assist parents in the education of their children. What a huge responsibility you teachers take upon yourselves.
“During those hours when the child is in the classroom you are almost like parents to them.
“You can do so much good, but if you are not dedicated, competent, patient and hardworking you can do very much harm too.
“Correct your children when they do wrong but do not lose your temper and discipline them with angry words and violent actions.
“If you correct your own children and your students in school in a patient and sensible way, without resorting to cursing, insults and violence, you will be a great model in the community where there is so much violence, harsh behaviour and angry insulting language, which only make things worse.
“Children learn how to love one another from their loving parents who have created a loving, peaceful and happy Christian family environment. They learn honesty from honest parents.
“They learn respect for others by seeing this value put into practice by their parents.
“The boys learn respect for their sisters and other girls by seeing the respect and love the father and husband has for his wife and mother.”
“I have witnessed young men and women, now grown up, seeking out one of their former teachers and, with loving words, thanking this man or woman who was such a help to them when they were young.
“This must be the greatest reward a teacher can receive, to see their students develop into good, mature, successful and happy people, who appreciate what their teachers did for them when they were young.
“Seeing a young man or woman, now an adult, thanking their former teacher for what he or she did for them is indeed a beautiful sight.”