The Department of Education (DepEd) has called on teachers to manage stress by maximizing the use of technology after a teacher in Leyte province committed suicide reportedly due to “paper work”.
The suicide incident is a wake-up call for public school teachers to learn how to manage work pressures, said Edgar Tenasas, DepEd-Leyte assistant division superintendent.
“Making reports and preparing lesson plans are part of a teacher’s life. Indeed, it is more convenient now with the available technology. We are luckier now because back in the day, teachers had to produce everything in handwritten copies,” Tenasas told reporters on Tuesday.
The local education official was reacting to reports circulating on social media that piles of paper work had prompted Emylou Malate, 21, a multi-grade teacher in La Paz, Leyte, to commit suicide inside their house in Limba village last July 14.
Malate, single and a newly-hired teacher was assigned to a multi-grade class at the Bagacay West Primary School, an upland school some 5 kilometers from the town center. Her first day of work was last June 25.
Malate’s friends created a “Justice for Teacher Emylou” Facebook page. Its latest post has more than 66,000 shares and more than 17,000 comments as of Wednesday morning.
“She took her own life thinking it was the easiest way out of all the gazillion paper works a public teacher must all require to pass… Our main goal is to educate children and not those futile endless paper works that would just end up in the trash bins after being checked,” the latest viral post said.
Tenasas said the incident has affected DepEd-Leyte’s field office tasked to supervise more than 15,000 teachers assigned to 1,107 elementary schools, 149 secondary schools, and 126 senior high schools in 40 towns.
“What kind of justice are we going to serve since nobody inflicted pain on her? Preparing lessons and making report to track down learners have been part of teaching profession for decades,” Tenasas said.
Furthermore, the official said that Malate is not the lone multi-grade teacher in the province since there are about 500 of them.
A multi-grade class is defined as a class of two or more grades under one teacher in a complete or incomplete elementary school. DepEd organizes these classes to offer the complete six grade levels to children in remote communities with only few enrollees.
Tenasas also asked college schools to design a curriculum that would prepare aspiring elementary school teachers to handle multi-grade classes.
Meanwhile, this was the second incidence of suicide involving a public school teacher.
It can be remembered that the first suicide incident was reported in March when a female teacher was found hanging at the back of a classroom at the Leyte National High School in this city.