Letters to the Editor

Reprimand both coach and physics teacher

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I write concerning the complaint of Sanjaye Shaw, teacher of physics at Calabar High School.

I shall comment based only on Shaw's account of the incident and will preface my comments with my personal experience in the school system.

Many teachers, supported by the general public, treat young sportsmen and women in the school as 'bad sores', which they have to live with and are constantly trying to cauterise. Teachers have to be trained to understand that it is their duty to show the students all the beauty they possess inside and show all the students the beauty they possess inside. That means they are responsible for the development of all aspects of their students.

Secondly, punishment should not be administered as something to satisfy the demands of a teacher. The term for that is vengeance. When we punish a student, the student should leave your presence knowing that they did wrong; admitting that they did wrong and know that there are consequences for bad behaviour, and should be directed towards an alternative the next time a similar situation occurs.

I strongly believe that, as adults, teachers should be able to identify the point at which a situation can turn violent and walk away or seek help.

In the Calabar case the adults reneged on their responsibility to act in loco parentis. Shaw said he went to ask for a loan of the cots or mattresses. He pointed out that it should be Calabar's cots and not the track team's. The coach said it was their's. It is usual for teams to get funding for items like that and,, based on experience, do not want to lend them out and not get them back or they are returned in a bad condition. If he feels they belong to the school, then he should not be asking the coach for them. He should be going through proper channels to borrow from the person in charge. Having gone to the coach he created animosity and set up the physics students against the track athletes and vice versa. Shaw should be reprimanded for this.

Shaw said, the coach sent the boys for the mattresses. The coach, who must have been angry, sent the boys to 'raid and plunder' as in a war situation. The stage was set for them to bring home the booty under whatever circumstance. The coach should be reprimanded for this.

Calabar is an all-boys institution, and with the male coach and teacher this situation facilitated an overproduction of testosterone and all that accompanies such a situation.

In order to maintain the status quo, the boys must be punished so they understand that there is a difference between a teacher and student and that all teachers must be respected.

Why did this situation have to be exposed to the public for comments? This is clearly an internal matter, and I am sure there are structures and procedures to address this. However, in this age when everything we eat, everywhere we go, every person we speak to, and everything that was once considered private is now on the Internet and, given as much public exposure as possible, we cannot settle anything in-house.

I think that removing the boys from the list of participants in the “Champs” would have been overkill and would only have satisfied the teacher. That is vengeance, which does not belong in a system that is supposed to educate.

Cynthia P Cooke

Former educator


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