versión en español (argentino)


Lessons from Teacher Ciruela
Unacceptable absences

Let's suppose that you've decided to go to the theater in order to enjoy a one-person show. You have to purchase your ticket online in advance, drive downtown, pay for a parking spot, stand in line at the entrance, and at last take your seat. Just then some random theater guy comes on stage to briefly notify that everybody has to leave the place, as the actor or actress is not gonna perform... and they neither give you any reason for their absence or the slightest hint of an apology, nor tell you that you'll receive a full refund of the entrance fee. No shame at all. Insane, isn't it.

Yet that's what actually happens on a daily basis at both elementary and -mostly- at high schools in my country. How people can put up with this sort of behavior is rather hard to be understood. Unexpectedly a tutor bursts into the classroom and says: hey, you guys, the teacher's not coming, you can go home.

You already know, I'm a full professor that works at a public university. It's at all unthinkable that this kind of thing could happen in any of my courses. Students never ever have to miss a single class. This academic institution operates in such a way that if a professor failed to attend his class there would always be a substitute teaching fellow scheduled on the spot.

The sole exception to this golden rule is that of the strike, be it a labour strike or a general strike. But still many of us will not choose to back out and absent ourselves from our classes; the other way around, most of the teaching team will attend not only to face up to facts, to clarify issues and to express concern but also to prompt students to learn more deeply about and also to get involved with the issue that is currently being dealt with.

It's totally unacceptable for students to be left behind. But it's at all insane if parents stand idly by.

Translated by Virginia Merchan. Some Rights Reserved. Not to be reproduced or quoted without citing the source and the author. Last updated: March-13. Buenos Aires, Argentina.