Recently I read with a very heavy heart disheartening news of a school girl who committed suicide after ridicule from a teacher because the said pupil had soiled her dress due to menstruation. I don’t know where to begin. This should not have happened. I also hope and pray that a similar incident does not happen. Yes, there will still be menstruation from girls but nobody should be made to feel lesser a human because of menstruation.
When you are dead, you don’t feel any pain. It is your people who feel the pain (of losing a loved one). Similar thing when you are stupid. A teacher is the best placed person to understand that menstruation is natural. It is growth. For a teacher to shame an innocent girl because of a natural process she has no control over, is the height of stupidity. A recklessness unrivalled.
The first time I came across the world ‘noble’ was when our English teacher in class seven told us that teaching is a noble profession. I never knew what noble meant and I had to seek the services of a dictionary. Teachers are great people. They mould learners and bring out the best in them. They inspire learners, they motivate them. Tell me any profession that would exist today without teachers. Even Jesus himuselefu was a teacher. Rabbi . It is written that nobody ever taught like him. And so we believe.
Teachers are co-guardians to learners. Learners spend a very big percentage of their time in school. As such, teachers are trusted with a very demanding responsibility of ensuring the well-being of the learners during the period they are with them. Such a role does not need the recklessness and insensitivity like the one the alleged teacher exhibited.
It was probably that girls first experience. She was also probably shocked by what was happening to her. She needed a shoulder to lean on. Someone to hold her hand gently and whisper, ” it is normal my child’. She needed someone to help cover the mess on her clothes by providing something like a leso and/or a dress to change. She needed someone to offer her pads and an illustration on how to use them. She needed to be made to understand that menstruation is a natural process that all ladies experience from puberty to menopause. She needed someone to take her back to class to resume her studies.
What did she receive instead? An unforgiving world that is full of insensitivity and reckless beings. A teacher that saw this as an opportunity to shame and ridicule her. I can’t help but imagine what that child must have felt. Her whole world became dark. She felt like a child of a lesser God. She wondered why she was created different. Her self esteem was fatally damaged. Her heart became heavy with pain. She couldn’t take it anymore. She chose to end her life. Probably in the other side people don’t get ridiculed because of menstruation.
We have previously complained about negligence by professionals in other fields and I feel it is time we shift the focus to this noble profession. We must also acknowledge majority of the teachers who have remained true and committed to their duties. However, there are few elements who need to be smoked out and be cremated alive. Those that have taken advantage of young girls and defiled them. Those that have shattered dreams of learners deliberately.
We have good teachers. Then we also have bad teachers. Just like in any field, you cannot have a field without rogue elements. A friend of mine told me of a teacher who couldn’t allow him read a passage in class during English lessons. The said teacher could shame him before the whole class that he (my friend) could not read because the only thing he knew was to brew and drink changaa, thanks to the poverty in his home. Thank God my friend endured the humiliation and completed primary school.
Learners come from different backgrounds. Their parents/guardians equally do different things to earn a living and raise them. It is the height of stupidity, insensitivity and recklessness to shame a child because his parent brews changaa as a source of income. If anything, the right person to face and address is that parent and not an innocent minor who needs nurturing, inspiration and motivation to bring out the best in him.
Rogue, unethical and unprofessional teachers have killed many dreams in learners. Learners’ Self esteem has been irredeemably destroyed by such characters. This is not the reason we send learners to school. As a result of one teacher’s irresponsible conduct we are left with a dead child, a grieving family and a society that will likely move on like nothing happened. Sad sana.
The writer is a Communication Public Relation graduate from Moi University