Last Wednesday, Carlos Hilado Memorial State College recognized teachers who serve selflessly, with the current longest-serving faculty member logging 40 years at the job. In two or three years, the longest-serving will retire. I asked him, “What are your plans after retirement?” The educator said he intended to continue his ‘apostolic duty’ (a.k.a. taking care of his grandchildren), along with gardening and setting-up a sari-sari store.
Much like graduation, retirement is part of the process; both are vital because every exit comes with a new beginning. Teachers invest their time studying, publishing research, and doing paperwork until it’s time to hang up the gloves.
The extensive training teachers undergo in order to give their best to the country’s future leaders signifies their sheer dedication to education. As a result, because of their hard work, the academe recognizes their sacrifices; every three years, there is a cycle to elevate teachers to a professorial position. For educators, monetary matters are secondary – I always remind my students, as a teacher, your pocket will not be full but you will be thankful after educating a soul.
In higher education, the top position is full professor; it’s why the title of “professor” is reserved for an individual who achieves such a stature. As a full professor (depending on the institution), one can earn P180,000 a month; however, beforehand, one must be willing to slave away conducting research and publishing findings – it is not dissimilar to “Game of Thrones.”
In the same vein as Aristotle’s quote, “a man is a political animal,” politics also lurks within the academe, from “credit grabbing” to (the worst) stealing ideas; much like the food chain, the one with the strongest academic credentials or qualifications will prevail and become the top predator. Faculty members with a master’s degree or undergraduate degree are primarily producing output as their workload originates from the “top predators.”
Why do teachers teach?
It may be cliché to say educators love teaching but they continue to pursue the profession despite having to go into debt. Many teachers opt to borrow loans because their meager salary is not enough to fulfill their need to pursue a post-graduate degree – they say, a teacher without a loan is not a teacher. A teacher without a post-graduate degree is viewed as incompetent by institutions of higher education. They also often go down this route to avoid a process called “return of service,” where one semester is equivalent to three years of return of service.
This dilemma remains a part of the life of teachers, who are similar to second-class citizens; despite a high position in academia, they still need massive amounts of cash to support their basic needs.
Indoctrination is part of pedagogy
As social inequality and injustice becomes more commonplace today, teachers have a duty to open students’ eyes to reality and ensure they are fully aware of social issues. However, when a teacher educates students on combatting fake news or instructs them on how to criticize the current administration, they are tagged as “inciting rebellion.”
Indoctrination is a part of every institution, from religion to education. Remember, Jesus Christ indoctrinated his apostles about theodicy. The way in which the military believes their duty is to defend the people and obey their commander-in-chief is indoctrination.
The real problem is teachers having their progressive views silenced, not indoctrination. Teachers are educators, not trainers; stop silencing us on pressing issues.
Being a teacher is not an easy task, it is a sacrifice. We are teachers inside and outside the classroom. What makes it a noble profession is, despite the low pay and heavy workload, the education field is pursued by many senior high school students.
My enjoyment of teaching gives me strength and I hope my students will someday know me not by my name but by the beliefs and ideals I instilled in them. After all, as I continue to grow, somehow, they will visit me in my cubicle and again remind me that being a teacher is God’s gift to humanity./WDJ