Jerrold Tarog’s Faculty is a soft cry for better education
Whether or not Jerrold Tarog intended to send a message to academicians, one thing’s for sure: his short film Faculty is a swift kick in the gut. Or more accurately, it shot an arrow straight into my heart.
My favorite lines:
“Yan ang trabaho natin dito. Yaya.”
(This is our job here. To act as nannies.)
“Ah, empleyado ka. Sorry ha, teacher kasi ako. Kelangan ko magturo.”
(Ah, you’re an employee. I’m sorry but I’m a teacher. I need to teach.)
“No, we are talking about social awareness and responsibilities. Alam mo, sorry ha, hindi kasi ako kuntentong mangitlog ng mangitlog ng mga mangmang katulad mo. May pakealam ako sa mga bata.”
(No, we are talking about social awareness and responsibilities. You know, I’m sorry, I’m not like you, content with laying eggs that have no substance. I care about these kids.)
Both sides shown here — a teacher who wants to develop critical thinking in students versus a teacher who would rather follow the rules — have their flaws and Tarog was able to highlight the strengths and the weaknesses in their arguments. I’m actually surprised at the level of insight Tarog was able to project in such a short film. Faculty is only 7 minutes long, and yet, without being too obvious or literal, it was able to shake me right to my very core. I had loved his recently released full-length film Senior Year, but it was Faculty that cemented my place among his many fans.
My take on the the thought-provoking issues this short had raised? We educators become complacent when we begin to look at teaching as a job and not as a vocation. My former boss Gerard Cadlum, whom I greatly miss, once (endearingly) called me an idealist because of my blatant defiance against promoters of intellectual mediocrity. Simply put: I do not like diploma mills. They are responsible for the proliferation of the Cut and Paste Generation and the purveyors of the Robot Mentality (all technical work, no critical thinking). Diploma mills are like the more expensive, glorified version of those fake university certificates being sold in Recto.
And shockingly enough, there are plenty of these around the country, run by people who are fueled by political/personal ambition rather than social responsibility. The good news is, many teachers can make a huge difference. I’ve seen schools that are truly concerned about enriching their students — not necessarily to go out and attend rallies (I find that to be quite extreme) — but striving to make students aware of the changes they are capable of enabling.
“[Education] for me is a starting point if you want to try at least to change a society,” Tarog once said during an ANC interview. I concur wholeheartedly. That was why teaching became my vocation for the last five years. And even if I am leaving the academe for a year, I know that I can still continue my support of quality education as a media researcher, social scientist, artist and writer. If Tarog can make awareness possible within 7 minutes, then we know we all can follow his example in our own little way.