“If I get to live the next life, I will never work in this honored’ profession, so disgusting…”
The words of a teacher at Hai Cang Secondary School (Quy Nhon City) left in a suicide note made many fellow teachers feel pity, and anger, but also sympathy for the plight of a teacher under pressure to the point of committing suicide.
Where is the union?
On September 24, people in Nhon Binh ward, Quy Nhon city discovered a body identified as a teacher named P., who died by taking suicide pills, along with a suicide note from this teacher.
In the letter left, Ms. P. (33 years old), talked about the pressures that an ordinary teacher must endure:
“After the pressure of work that teachers have to go to class and teach, I was nervous about not knowing if my name was wrong in it. While the time is too little, the amount of work is too much. How many things the teachers are the ones to bear.”
However, that is not the main reason why this teacher decided to commit suicide. According to the content of the letter, “There is one thing that I cannot accept, which is what caused me to leave today. I hope when I leave, absolutely no one who is a teacher will pay the last visit to me. If I could live the next life, I would never work this noble profession again, so disgusting…”
Facebooker La Minh Luan, a retired teacher, urgently questioned the management board of Hai Cang Secondary School on her personal Facebook page:
“Why can’t she accept your behavior that made her sacrifice her life? You are not innocent…
If the Board of Directors has a prejudice against her, I would like to ask where is the responsibility of the School Union – the representative to take care of the interests of the workers? Where is the expert leader who is not around, helping her mentally (if she makes a mistake)? Or do you just surround the Board of Directors, people with authority, and isolate and abandon their colleagues?
A teacher in Hanoi, who wants to remain anonymous, said every school has a union. But the main job of the union is just to see who is in mourning and go to visit, see who is hospitalized and give some money.
“The union has no effect at all, it does not protect teachers at all. They are even cruel, working for the leadership, very cruel and emotionless.”
Teacher Do Viet Khoa, from Hanoi, told RFA he was outraged when he heard the news:
“The death of a teacher in Quy Nhon recently caused a lot of anger. For us, it was very painful.
However, if only she posted on social networks, shared with other teachers across the country, with family and friends to find out the best way to fight to get rid of the pressure, she would be better than committing such a suicide.”
The unnamed teacher shared that she sympathizes with the frustrations that teachers in Quy Nhon have to endure because she herself has been depressed because of pressures in the working environment:
“I completely sympathize with her and understand why the teacher was thinking about suicide. So these days I kept thinking about whether or not I should form a group of teachers who are repressed teachers to share with each other. But just thinking about it, if I say it out loud, I’ll probably be in jail in a week or so.”
Pressure from all sides
With nearly 20 years in the teaching profession, the unnamed teacher said that an ordinary teacher today is under pressure from “all sides,” from students, parents, colleagues, and the public:
“A person who has no position in an educational institution has to do a lot of work. They have to directly teach students and at the same time must be directly responsible for everything for students and parents as well.
For example, grades, academic achievement, whether students are good or not, how to not affect the overall achievement of the class.”
Chairman of the Quy Nhon City’s People’s Committee, on September 26, told the local media that a day before the suicide, Ms. P. had to review and explain after a student’s parents accused her of beating the student.
If the pressures from the workload, from students and parents, are shared by colleagues and sympathized with each other, it will not push the teacher in Quy Nhon to the point of suicide. Anonymous teacher says:
“But on the contrary, this mechanism has been shaped that voiceless individuals have to find for themselves the safest way to protect themselves. Therefore, when colleagues are battered and unfair, no one dares to speak up.”
Teacher Do Viet Khoa, who has been a victim of abuse and coercion in a pedagogical environment, said that all pressures, from work to the meager salary of the teaching profession, he will overcome if working in a proper educational environment, everyone respects each other:
“Unfortunately, there are many schools across the country where principals become thugs, delinquents, despicable, petty people, harming people, cheating parents and students, and harming teachers. There is no shortage of that and my case is probably a case in point.”
Talking about his case, Mr. Khoa said that because he had denounced the principal where he used to work for illegal work, illicit relationships, and having children out of wedlock, he was isolated, bullied, and threatened. threatened for many years.
Although we have sent complaints and denunciations to the leaders of the Ministry of Education, and even to the court … but no one has resolved it.
From the beginning of 2020 until now, according to domestic press, Ho Chi Minh City has more than 5,500 employees quitting their jobs. Which, the education sector accounts for more than 2,400 people.
In Dong Nai, from early 2021 to mid-2022, 1,218 teachers quit. Also during this period, Binh Duong province had 527 teachers resign.
Hanoi, Gia Lai… also reported many cases of teachers leaving their jobs.
Mr. Vu Minh Duc, Director of the Department of Teachers and Educational Administrators, under the Ministry of Education, was quoted by Vietnamnet as saying that teachers changing jobs and leaving jobs have many reasons such as low income plus pressure from teachers, students’ parents, and society.
What to do when pressed?
In order to avoid an unfortunate situation like the case of a teacher in Quy Nhon, when teachers encounter problems such as being isolated by their superiors, isolated colleagues, etc., according to the anonymous teacher, it is essential to find and share their stories with other people so people understand. Then, teachers need to have the knowledge to fight for rights according to the law:
“First there must be a community or colleagues around to share…
After that, this teacher must know how to find a lawyer and learn the law to fight with his superiors. Understand the law and your basic rights to find out whether the regulations issued by the unit you work for are right or wrong to fight back.”
According to teacher Do Viet Khoa, if you want to fight for your rights, teachers need to always determine that winning is very difficult. If you can’t stand the pressure, then boldly find another job:
“The first is that those teachers have to measure their strength to fight within their scope.
Then you must know that journalists or lawyers and social forces can help you in this struggle, but you must respect the law.
After all the measures to fight it, teachers should have the courage to leave the education industry and move to another environment.”
The story of teachers suing their superiors and winning even a small amount is not unprecedented in Vietnam.
Typically, the case of five teachers in Krong Pak and Dak Lak districts won the lawsuit, forcing the school and the district People’s Committee to compensate a total of VND1.2 billion ($50,000).
Due to the massive recruitment of teachers by the People’s Committee of Dak Lak province, the province had a surplus of about 600 teachers from the 2011-2016 school year, causing the provincial leader to unilaterally terminate the contract with about 500 teachers.
These five people were sued for being fired in 2018 even though they did not violate discipline.