Losing the Nobility of the Noblest Profession
“Hindi trip trip ang teaching dahil nakakabadtrip maging teacher sa bansang parang tip lang ang sweldo.” This line is from a video that recently went viral few weeks ago on Facebook. It’s about the “kakak” or the unflinching statement of a Philippine teacher that gained more than 280,000 likes and now has 8.2 million views. It’s no longer a surprise that teachers actually liked the video and commented to have the same sentiment. You may probably heard at least once how teaching is the noblest profession. I guess it’s safe to say that it is a cliché and just like how cliché is defined as an expression that has been used so often that it loses its nobility, this adage has been used so many times as an excuse for all the unjust circumstances teachers, the unsung heroes, are facing.
Underpaid and overworked? “Teacher ka kasi. If teaching is really your passion, you’ll find happiness in every struggle. Suck it up or better yet, leave.” It’s easy to say to simply think positive about it but it is too idealistic and is very different from the reality. Teachers love their profession so much that sometimes, they choose to keep silent but if they continue to conceal what’s truly in their hearts, they will trap themselves in this vicious cycle and sadly, they will ultimately be on the losing end. Life is a matter of choices. It is your decisions that determine your destiny. Teachers will not choose to leave but they will also not choose to simply suck it up. One thing I know for sure, teachers hate mediocrity. They will not settle for less especially if there’s an obvious room for improvement. They don’t teach for the money but they should be paid enough so that they won’t need another job. Also, the CPD law, the moneymaking extortion, should be abolished. Ancillary & auxiliary services should be lessened for the teachers to focus on their main mandate which is delivering quality education. Even after work hours, their time is spent on meetings, papers, exams, lesson plans and more. Recently, DEPED was alarmed by the consecutive news of teachers who died by suicide and the believed culprit is their workload. Out of all these, eating away the time for themselves, their family and the other things they love and justifying it by saying that it’s part of their moral obligation as a teacher is the worst. Time has no resurrection. A profession should not put one in a compromising situation, battling whether to prioritize his own family or the family of others.
A study was done to know the reasons influencing teachers to resign or take early retirements. The paper found that the increased workload, low salary, indebtedness, lack of incentives and lack of support for professional growth are the reasons. This shows the profound truth of teaching in the Philippines, the sad reality of teachers. In the recent celebration of the World Teachers’ Day, Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones announced that there will be no salary increase for teachers, partnered with the report that inflation peaked at 6.7% in September. World Teachers’ Day has long been celebrated in the Philippines but its aim to improve educators is still not met. Politicians give highfalutin words and people on social media post about how honorable teachers are but then forget all about it after the celebration. “Our teachers are not accorded due recognition and importance they deserve. Their salaries are insultingly low and with the high cost of living today, it is no wonder that the best and the brightest among them are now teaching abroad or worse, have migrated to work as caregivers or domestic helpers.” said Caloocan City Rep. Mary Mitzi L. Cajayon, author of HB 800 at the House of Representatives. Especially with the TRAIN law, the teacher’s current salary cannot cope with the upsurge in the prices of goods and services. I know that it is easier said than done but if the government was able to give a pay hike for our honorable soldiers, the same should also be given to the teachers.
The human-capital theory believes that the better the people are educated, the higher the chance of economic growth. Teachers have always taken part in nation building, dedicated in providing the best education for the youth and if the youth is the future of our nation, the nation that awaits us lies in the hands of teachers. Ergo, it is important that the nation gives what the teachers are worthy of. They are not worthy of empty words and shallow promises. They are worthy of actions. Give them decent living and dignified compensation for their honorable profession. Aristotle mentioned that teachers are more to be honored than the children’s parents for they only gave them life but teachers gave them the art of living. Teachers are the real VIPs, a catalyst. Teaching is the only profession that produces all other professions. Let’s not completely lose the nobility of our heroes that are slowly dying. They deserve more. Our nation deserves better.