Indie director’s short film on online learning draws flak for ‘insulting educators’

<i>Photo: Screengrab from VinCentiments / FB</i>
Photo: Screengrab from VinCentiments / FB

Independent film group Sa Wakas’ viral short film depicting learners’ sentiments on online education has drawn flak from a university student council for supposedly insulting and antagonizing teachers.

Teachers’ jobs amid the pandemic are “undeniably challenging,” which is why they “should never be undermined in any way,” the University of the Philippines’ (UP) College of Education Student Council said in an open letter addressed to the film’s creators yesterday.

Read: Student boredom, longer hours online to test Pinoy teachers this school year

The student council said that teachers have had to up their efforts in “ensuring that quality education is continuously delivered despite the many limitations present in our educational system.” And while they recognize the aim of the short film to voice the concerns of students about online classes, they deemed the video “outright irresponsible, insensitive, and infuriating.”

It added that the short film “antagonizes teachers by portraying them as harsh and ignorant to the concerns of student. This is a direct insult to educators whose efforts, for the past months, are directed towards adjusting syllabi, curricula, modules, and lesson plans in order to ensure the delivery of quality and compassionate education amidst the pandemic.”

“Our teachers do not deserve this disrespect,” they added, asking the creators to take down the video, and the Education department to “take necessary action steps in order to protect teachers from public shaming and humiliation.”

The offending video in question is just one in a trilogy of short films titled Online Class, written and directed by Darryl Yap, posted on Sa Wakas’ film page, VinCentiments.

Read: VIRAL: Short film showing student’s reaction to demanding teacher sparks debate about education system 

The nearly 10-minute Students Rant video shows a student portrayed by Loren Montemayor Marinas, in a Zoom class where she tries to maintain focus while having to contend with background noise like a rackety electric fan, a barking dog, a mom loudly ordering her to run store errands, and a crying infant sibling.

The teacher then commands Marinas to focus, scolding her for her lagging internet connection. Marinas then slips into a daze, where she imagines launching into a tirade about her current predicament. In it, she complains about “this son of a b*tch online class,” the high cost of school fees despite a lack of physical classroom, and teachers’ lackluster methods of reaching out to students.

“The way you push for online classes, it’s as if you’re actually ready for it…Your powerpoint has already been shared on Google Docs, and still you read it to us as is, we’re reading it and you’re reading it. Is that considered online learning?…You’re not really teaching, you’re just clicking! Click. Click. Fuck! (“Pindot. Pindot. Hindot!”).”

Read: Viral short film shows trials faced by public school teachers in the PH

Besides Students Rant, VinCentiment also posted two more videos called a Parents Rant, and a Teachers Rant, where similar strongly worded displeasure in the online learning system are heard from the titular POVs. This isn’t the first time that the indie outfit’s films drew strong reactions. Some two years back, Sa Wakas also released a comedic film addressing the challenges faced by public school teachers, and another satire showing students struggling to please demanding teachers. Both films went viral.

UP Council meanwhile said that while it believes “art is a powerful tool to raise discourse on social issues,” efforts should instead instead be directed on holding the government, instead of teachers accountable.

“Now more than ever, we must know who the real enemy is. Instead of putting all the blame towards our teachers, our efforts must be directed against this oppressive administration and in strengthening our fight towards quality, accessible, and relevant education!” The council said.




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