Compensatory Mechanisms Among Teachers

Dr. Ricardo B. de los Santos, PhD

Whenever I think about compensatory mechanisms, I can’t help but think also of Charlie Chaplin, the Great American comic. His set of quotes I like best in relation to this topic are: “There is nothing permanent in this life, not even our troubles.” , “I like walking in the rain because nobody will notice the tears”, and “The most wasted day in my life is one which I wasn’t able to laugh.”

The first quotation points out to the fact that since nothing is permanent in the world, even our troubles will come to pass. A very negative application of this tenet is one I heard from a teacher who felt that all the superiors are conspiring to oppress her so that she will be forced to resign simply because the Superintendent doesn’t like her for her guts and the rest joined in, in the bandwagon. “Hindi bale, mamatay din namang silang lahat.” The statement although true, that everyone is supposed to die, came as a curse and I started pitying the oppressors even if I had to remind her that it was best to leave it all to God to be her Avenger.

Hard-pressed and pressured by almost everyone in school, the Public School Teacher, the new National beast of burden can only try making use of her coping mechanism to keep herself sane and still on track in the noble profession which is her calling. Which is why her everyday battlecry (with emphasis on the cry) would be “Kaya ko ‘to! Matatapos din ang lahat!” (I can bear this! Everything will come to an end!) forgetting that the day of retirement is still far away.

She can even dance in the rain and appear “chill”, today’s for being at ease or relaxed. And yes, nobody will notice the tears in her eyes and nobody will know that the folding umbrella is well-kept in the bag. Yes, she’s laughing in the outside after the sudden downpour but she’s crying in the inside because of her loans, the cruel critique of the master teacher, the demands of the principal, the supervisor’s plea so that she can be ahead of the other supervisor, etc., etc. But she must go on for the sake of her students, already a lost generation, because of the news that they can pass anyway and her yearning for them to have at least some learning.

But she still has to resort to sour graping. For how can she explain away the fact that she is bypassed again for this round of promotion. Ah, why doesn’t this principal see that I have also studied this and that? Why don’t they recognize my certificates for this and that? Why are my efforts still unrecognized when I have done so much for the school having achieved this and that? Well, anyway the this and that of it all is that yes, that’s it, it is not the will of God for me to become a master teacher yet because He doesn’t want me to suffer so much as I see the empty lives of some M.T.s.

And yes, for the sweet lemon of it! Am I not the family matriarch? Am I not actually the decision- maker of the family now, since my hubby had been laid off because of the pandemic. And now, my children have to exert more listening efforts or I might not give them the money they want. And now, since the Principal just wants me to stay principal suspect, I might as well be that and let her guess about what I’m thinking. Don’t they know I’m scary. Sometimes, I even scare myself.

Likewise, why still talk of tears … and of fears. Laughter is the best medicine and yet it’s not found in the medicine cabinet. Why write the day on tears and anxieties. If one keeps on worrying, it becomes even more burdensome. Yes, it’s true that the students are some burden, especially if their antics can make you laugh, and therefore, make your day. You may not like the Maritess or the Marisol in the faculty room, nor Michael ( May kelangan kasi kaya lumapit) but you can actually laugh with them without them knowing that you are actually laughing on how shallow they can be.

In fact, some of them are still okay as co-professionals. For their compensatory mechanisms, they may be substituting or sublimating for things they would like to be when they are not. Take Marida Feliz who would be talking the whole day how happy her married life is. Do you know that is not normal to claim that your married life is always a bliss and that you do not have any quarrels. Chances are she is a great liar and is living a life of a great pretender. Or Martina Dumdum who claims the opposite and tells everyone she is a battered wife, and uses this story to solicit things from everybody. But that is still alright at worst they can be neurotics still able to function well as teachers.

But when you enlarge these coping mechanisms to project unto others what you don’t want to be projected unto you then, Houston, we have a problem. NASA problems have solutions but not the pagnanaNASA ones because they are problems so things spread that they reach the fringes of outer space and therefore are alienable.

Desires and unrequieted passions are space vehicles that are bound to explode into psychosis and since the American Psychiatric Association had heretically defined perversions as mere lifestyles, it is harder to discern psychotic individuals in the workplace. These are the very ill ones who project their weaknesses and failures to others so that nobody would notice how sick they are.

Take an ugly superintendent who is so insecure about her looks that she wanted to almost define beautiful under her as “beautiful but dumb” and harps on her intelligence, unashamedly but reversely exposing her weak understanding of things. Little does she know that if we only live content and without malice, these can do a lot more to our countenance than plastic surgery would. Look at St. Bernadette, and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and Sister Wilhelmina and many more whose kindness and holiness, as gifts of God radiate in their being and make them beautiful to behold, even as incorruptible. And yes, even among men like St. John Bosco.

And a social climber, who I discovered from her early writings that she wanted to be treated as a royalty not knowing that real nobility is in character that defines simplicity and humility as sincerity would. When her desires were unanswered she was quick to retaliate even threatening the book that was my dissertation, and how she managed to vex a pilgrimage in keeping with her desires as a tourist. My God, they have been given the chance to be beautiful but they simply ignore the Marian formula of simplicity and humility. And now what is latent is at work, the ugly person who compensates becomes more horrible.

Because evil is that toxic bloom which spawns jealousy, envy, avarice, sloth, gluttony, hatred and lust. Everything that a neurotic or psychotic person projects implants this toxic bloom. For heavy with insecurity, the person tends to project that everyone is disobedient, uncaring and cold to the goodness she is trying to project as being motherly, nurturing, caring and warm to everyone who will obey her bidding. Excuse me, but this is the mark of Babylon, which is slowly substituting itself as the true Christian Church.

Now, of course, I have so much zoomed at the topic on hand that it might prove myopic so let me go back to the simple world of opulence and limelight that our subjects love so much. I want you, dear reader to distinguish the wanton hypocrisy present in the meeting of two worldly queens: one born aristocrat and therefore noble and one who wants to succeed in fame and fortune. For some Hollywood glitz, an audience was requested for the late Queen Elizabeth II and Hollywood movie queen Jean Harlowe and it was granted, despite the Hollywood scandals.

The Hollywood movie star presented herself to the Queen and as expected gave her screen name. She even asked her to spell her last name again and she obliged; Harlowe: H-a-r-l-o-w-e,

Oh yes, – said her majesty the Queen, – we the silent t.

So, there you are for our last anecdote. See how kind the Sovereign Head of the Anglican Church is to grant an audience to a social climber, one which Hollywood now has forgotten for all its glitz and glamour.

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