“There’s really no nice way to talk about colonization,” -Gregorio Ecle, Southern High teacher of Chamorro studies.
Guam – A Southern High School Chamorro language teacher is under fire for reportedly sharing anti-American rhetoric in his classroom.
The teacher in question is named Gregorio Ecle. He currently serves as the Department Chair for World Languages and has been a teacher at Southern High School for eight years.
However, a recent recording of Ecle’s lecture –peppered with expletives, sparked concerns from GDOE stakeholders.
This afternoon on “K57’s Your 4 Hour Phill”, the Chamorro teacher stated his case.
“As a teacher, I can absolutely understand the mother’s position. I can also understand why a parent would be concerned why a teacher is making statements like that in a public school setting. I absolutely understand that. However, I do feel that perhaps maybe they should’ve spoken to the school officials first, and then maybe come and talk to me,” Ecle says.
Leon Guerrero recited one of Elce’s heated statements delivered in his classroom:
“Because it doesn’t adhere to what you and your people think, you think it’s ‘wrong.’ That’s why everyone hates America because we always think we know what’s best and can change everyone, but people from America just need to shut the [expletive] up.”
In response, Ecle said there’s no “nice” way to teach decolonization.
“My lesson is on decolonization, but I cannot teach them decolonization without first ensuring that they understand colonization and how that affects them directly because it’s all about us…there’s no nice way to say [colonizers] banned us from speaking our language so you know it is what it is, there’s no nice way to say something like that,” he argued.
Ecle is also a member of the outspoken activist group Prutehi Litekyan. He says he wanted his students to have a “conscious mind around them…to understand how things around them impact them as indigenous people of a colonized island.”
“I made sure that the students understood that I’m up here and a lot of these things I said are my personal opinion,” Ecle maintained.
When asked if he was prepared to give the student alleging uneasiness during one of his lectures an apology, Ecle said:
“My intention is never to ostracize a child. My intention is never to make a child feel uncomfortable in any way in my classroom. That is never the intent. So, if that’s how [the student] did feel, then of course I apologize for that.”
The Chamorro teacher says the student was given the option to transfer out of his classroom, but according to the teacher, she has requested to remain in his class.
As a caveat however, he added that he truly believes any student in his classroom feeling uncomfortable is experiencing discomfort because he is “challenging their belief system.”
Meanwhile, Superintendent Jon Fernandez tells PNC:
“I’ve been informed, and have been assured by the administrator of the school that he has spoken to the teacher to ensure this does not happen again.”