I have been seeing comments, reactions and shares of teachers on my Facebook wall feeds expressing deeply rooted sentiments. I can’t blame them. Their sentiments were triggered by the recent death by suicide by a newly hired DepEd teacher. Not too long ago, just a few months past, there was a different teacher who also committed suicide also in Leyte. Both suicides pointed to depression as a possible cause of death. Two teacher suicides are enough to shake the brood.

I completely understand the laments of teachers regarding work overloading and seemingly unnecessary requirements. I, myself, find most of those questionable. To me, it took the task of teaching secondary and the documentations primary. Logically, this should not be the case. Teaching is the primary task; hence, they are teachers.

I have been in the teaching profession. It has been years since I was teaching in a classroom. I have never taught in the DepEd system. I know several teachers in it though. I have heard about the recent changes. I have read about them too. Every teacher can attest to how tedious a profession it is. I still feel strongly for education and teaching issues. Teacher suicide news are not good news.

Regardless if you a government employed teacher or a teacher in the private school sector, there is much overload of tasks. For many, the line, “Teaching is a noble profession” has been greatly replaced by “Teaching is a stable profession.”  I know many teachers in DepEd who are too tired of teaching but stay in the profession because it is stable albeit all the loans they somehow incur. They aren’t to be blamed for their choice. In a country where job opportunities are scant, it is a rope of hope for many.

Despite the many complaints, teachers still try to religiously meet the work demands. They do their best to meet the demands of the children before them. Many times, they work hard to meet the demands of parents too. The roles teachers take on and the hats they wear are numerous. It can be exhausting. But their primary task as teachers should not be side-swiped. Teachers should be given more opportunities to teach and inspire the young minds, the young generation.

If we swamp the teachers with work that make that task less important, we may be doing something wrong. Likewise, if the teachers feel burdened enough to lose their mental health; then we are gravely in a wrong direction.

Those two teachers took their lives possibly because of depression according to reports. We have two teacher suicides that have happened. These are very saddening.

Depression being simply assumed is sad on its own. Depression being an indefinite opinion; and pointed to as a cause of something as grave as suicide is mad. Depression as an illness can be diagnosed. It can be known. It is not something we just assume for tragedy’s sake. It is real.

Let this be a wake-up call!!!

Let this be an eye opener for the educational system that we have. Let this be a spin-off point to introspect on what the system has become. Why would a neophyte end her life? What led to teacher suicides?

Social Studies and Civics teachers have always taught the school is the second home, the secondary form of community next to the family. What is our educational system family relationship like?

Let this be an eye opener for all teachers too. So, our education system sucks…what supports do we give our fellow teachers, fellow educators when things shake them? How do we address depressive like behaviors and symptoms?

Let this be an eye opener for our society. Anyone can get depression. It does not discriminate. Our teachers are humans acting like super heroes. Still, they are humans. They have thresholds. They may break. It is not a sin to break down.

Let this also be an eye opener and a reminder that depression is an illness. There are treatments. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Deaths by suicides are preventable. Teacher suicides can be avoided.