The loving teacher

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By JEAN PIERRE CHAUVIN*

How long will Professors accept being accused of being amateurs? How long will teachers accept being treated as a “social agenda” item?

“What was it, a year ago? Teacher. What is it now? Capitalist." (Machado de Assis, Quincas Borba, chap. 1)

From time to time, we hear statements that discredit the profession of education and its role in Brazilian society.

Once, the president of a military entity that managed the educational establishment where he taught, suggested that teachers worked “for vocation and not for money”. The declaration had been proclaimed loudly, during the opening of an event that, theoretically, aimed to “empower” those present on Saturday – that is, taking up half of the weekly day of rest. Evidently, the purpose was different: the man in uniform gave “his” view on the rumors circulating in the company's units about the demand for better salaries.

Now, those who want better working conditions ask for two inseparable things: adequate remuneration for what they do and respect for the teaching profession. We know well that our category does not have the same cohesion as other corporations, such as those that bring together doctors, engineers, federal police officers, lawyers, subway workers or bus drivers.

This disunity among colleagues adds to the illusion regarding the “prizes” offered by the State. As we know, over three decades, Tucano governments have perfected rivalry between institutions: prizes for results only stimulate competition between educational establishments and mask unhealthy conditions in the classroom, not to mention the side effects caused by lack of training. of an effective project for free, inclusive and effective quality education in the public education network.

As we also know, a significant part of São Paulo residents do not see any problem in witnessing Bruno Covas' former vice-president honoring the cowardly and infamous act of this February 25th, led by the Mythômano-Major's minions. Proportionally, a considerable portion of São Paulo residents do not feel any embarrassment when hearing the governor call a proven corrupt, denialist, sadistic, surrendering, inept, dictatorial and coup-president guy “boss”.

In this sense, it is curious that some of my colleagues do not present any manifesto in defense of the category, even in the face of the recent speech that preached two absurdities: (i) suggesting that where there is a lack of money, there is plenty of love [a fallacy typically uttered by those who have never entered the room classes, in the capital and other cities of São Paulo]; (ii) promise that teachers’ remuneration will be reviewed when the government “discusses social agendas”.

How long will Professors accept being accused of being amateurs? Such dedication, inside and outside the classroom, won't it be enough for them to see themselves as professionals who deserve to be treated and paid in line with their training, skills and efforts?

How long will teachers accept being treated as a “social agenda” item? It is not demagogic welfare nor feigned charity that we need; but to enhance the professional's image, career requalification and increase in the minimum salary. Where is the commitment of the authorities – so used to defending the controversial actions of uncertain armed corporations – to help educators be perceived and recognized in a different way?

*Jean Pierre Chauvin Professor of Brazilian Culture and Literature at the School of Communication and Arts at USP. Author, among other books by Seven Speeches: essays on discursive typologies.


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