World Teachers’ Day was observed over the weekend. Students gathered and surprised their teacher, offering tribute to a person who is molding them for the future. It’s their way of paying gratitude to their mentor. However, in this era of President Rodrigo Duterte, teaching is now considered a second class profession with many still uncompensated despite a P30 billion increase in the 2020 education budget.
I have witnessed a lot of the younger generation of teachers—employed at both private and public institutions—leave to work abroad and pursue other careers despite stable employment. Teachers continue to chase high-paying jobs overseas; leaving their position to become domestic helpers.
These are the truths of the teaching profession. This list will allow ordinary people to understand why teachers quit.
A teacher’s salary is enough for a single person
For teachers who are dependent on their salary and have a family to feed, their pay is not enough to take care of household bills, medical necessities, and tuition for their children. Despite salary hikes, it is hard to keep up with the needs of society—it’s why many teachers fall victim to loan sharks.
Procuring classroom needs is part of the job
I used to know a teacher that paid to have her classroom painted, along with providing pencils and paper for her students.
According to Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones, there is a budget for materials and structural improvement; however, waiting for that budget will only lead to disappointment.
A lack of interest in the teaching profession, along with students developing deficiencies, stems from a teacher turning into an office clerk; the avalanche of requirements forced educators to sacrifice teaching.
For those in the industry long enough, they see the younger generation of students taking up graduate studies as a threat. Such “crab mentality” discourages young people from the teaching profession.
While man is indeed a “political animal,” teacher is also political when it comes to “rankings” and opportunity.
I have heard teacher rankings are remnants of the “Padrino system. Plus, young achievers refuse to give way to seniors because of “palakasan” to politicians, district supervisors, or even principals is the key to success.
Not enough time
Teachers are often accused of failing to make students better. What everybody else doesn’t know about are the duties teachers fulfill—they are counselors, doctors, lawyers, coaches, social workers, nurses, security guards, and janitors.
Teachers work to teach—and many do it with full devotion—they go in early and stay late. They plan and grade papers for hours after school and during the weekend. Although, expecting quality teaching, in this case, is like searching for a unicorn on the rainbow.
A sin to give failing grades
Due to the country’s “No child left behind” policy, teachers are forced to move students to the next grade level without attaining a mastery of the fundamentals. Giving failing grades might hurt a teacher’s evaluation and may get them barred from receiving promotions. Plus, the school performance-based bonus is at stake.
Being the best teacher is not a good idea
Excelling in the job only breeds jealousy, and bullying. Being the best will often result in many haters intending to bring down the youthful and idealistic.
More seminars, less output
DepEd conducts annual workshops and programs for teachers with large budgets for fancy hotels and speakers; however, what are the results after the seminar? Why is teaching efficiency still at the bottom? Why are math, science, and English skills so deficient?
Society treats teachers like second class professionals as they often become “entertainers” for politicians. They perform as though it were part of their job, which degrades their stature.
They are also known as “war freaks” who berate their enemies on social media posts, along with hawking beauty products or food in order to earn extra income.
Such stereotypes shape society’s perceptions of educators.
In addition, overwork can erode the quality of education and the “one-shot” salary deal can be fatal to educators; looking overseas is done as a means to reduce “brain drain.”
Teachers in the Philippines are overworked and not provided social recognition when they retire. Too bad, the Philippines does not recognize such modern-day heroes.
If it is true that teachers touch the lives of students, I think the education system need to reevaluate itself. How can teachers be motivated to serve despite challenges? Is it justifiable to celebrate World Teachers’ Day in one day? Are the teachers’ cries for change falling on deaf ears?
Comments and suggestions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org /WDJ