I finished my elementary and high school studies in public schools. And just like a typical pupil in a public school, I experienced bringing a bolo for cutting grasses, sweeping our classroom, and walking in my tsinelas (slippers) going to school and back at home.
The World Teacher’s Day which was celebrated last October 5 has already passed, but for me, our teachers should be appreciated every day. Our teachers play a major role in shaping our country. Whatever subjects they are teaching, they produce Filipinos who become the builders and leaders of our nation. Although I’m not a government employed teacher by profession, I have loved ones who work as such, and I can understand what they are going through.
There are already proposed bills that aimed to give public teachers in the Philippines an increase to their current salaries and benefits. Unfortunately, these laws are still pending due to budgetary considerations . My compassion goes to our dear teachers. And in my personal opinion, they are more than deserving to receive higher wages and benefits. Here are 10 reasons why:
1. They work beyond the normal working time.
Full time teachers, whether working in public or private schools, don’t just do their job inside the classroom, they also bring home tasks, such as making lesson plans, making test questions, checking test papers, and many more. You might be thinking that they are already free during weekends, summer time, and semestral breaks, but truth be told, they can still be busy and stressful in doing some extra jobs, like creating and submitting various reports to their immediate superiors.
2. A public teacher is a super worker.
Believe it or not but a public teacher, especially in rural areas, does the job of a universal worker. With the lack of budget allocated to our public schools, public teachers provide super labor for our country. Our public teachers do not only teach but they also sometimes (or even often) do the job of a nurse, a carpenter, a gardener, a janitor, a security guard, a solicitator, a canvasser, and even an accountant (creating liquidation statements, disbursement summaries and other financial reports).
3. They serve as the second parents to their students.
Aside from doing the jobs in #2, they also do the job of a parent. Students spend most of their time with their teachers during school period. There are teachers who even know their students more than by their parents. What I’m trying to say is that teachers, like parents, carry a big responsibility in teaching values, honing the skills, developing the talents, and shaping the future of our youth. Teachers do not only help their students earn a diploma but also to earn a better life in the present and future.
4. They resort to spending their own money to do their job well.
Public teachers in remote or rural areas are suffering from the lack of funding from the national government. Consequently, they resort to spending their personal money to buy school supplies and other stuff to effectively do their job as teachers. Moreover, since their pupils or students came from poor families, they are the ones who often provide financial assistance to the poor children. Teachers don’t wait for the government to give “baon“, buy slippers, and help students when they’re sick.
5. They make their students rich and famous while they remain poor and unrecognized.
Knowledge is power, and that’s why it can make anyone rich or famous. Teachers who provide quality knowledge or education help their students become rich and successful with their lives. They teach students the necessary knowledge, skills, disciplines and principles to achieve their goals. Isn’t it just fair to give our teachers the compensation they deserve for producing successful ones? Isn’t it bizarre to see their students getting rich, having cars and owning luxury houses while our beloved teachers remain poor (or ordinary) despite of their many years in service?
6. Public teachers work in an inconvenient environment.
I considered myself as a teacher since I teach people online through my writing and coaching activities. But I’m still lucky because I work while sitting and typing on my laptop. On the other hand, public teachers work while standing and talking for hours in an uncomfortable classroom (are there air-conditioning units in our public classrooms?). Furthermore, public teachers in the countryside need to go through an uncomfortable journey just to reach their assigned schools.
7. Teaching is one of the greatest professions of all.
Being a teacher is one the greatest jobs, if not the greatest, of all jobs in the world. Jesus was a teacher. Buddha was a teacher. Teachers shape the lives of people and even the world. Isn’t it reasonable to upgrade the salaries of our teachers from good to great?
8. The government should not let our teachers leave our country.
Our teachers are valuable treasures that our government should keep. We should not let them leave our country to find greener pastures abroad. But what can we do if our teachers can earn 7-8 times more if they will teach abroad, particularly in the US? Apparently, many Filipinos still need quality education, and we can’t afford to lose many of our quality teachers.
9. Education is one of the best investment our country can put in.
Quality education creates jobs, fights poverty and helps us achieve financial freedom. Nationwide education also fights corruption, as it makes people become intelligent voters. Knowledge may not be a tangible weapon and defense for our country but it’s definitely a powerful advantage we can have to become a more competitive nation. So why not our government boost its investment for our public teachers?
10. They truly deserve it!
Our public funds are allegedly used in unnecessary or undeserving expenditures. How many billions are spent during elections? How many pesos did the administration allegedly disburse just to oust their rival politicians? How many of our taxes are spent on repetitive repairs, maintenance and reconstruction of low-quality roads and other public infrastructures? Can we still say that our public teachers don’t deserve a raise?
I know that not all public teachers are the same. There are those who are dedicated to their job and there also teachers who are not serious with their job (this is normal in every profession). But of course if they will enjoy a hike on their salaries and benefits, it will surely make them happier and more motivated to work.
I know some teachers who don’t care about the amount of money they receive from the government as long as they’re happy serving the country and seeing their students become successful. But whether they’re keen or not on a wage hike, giving them the benefits they deserve will surely make them happier, more valued, and more appreciated.
It’s time for our government to value Filipino workers, not only teachers, but also other professionals, such as our soldiers, policemen, nurses, entrepreneurs and engineers. Have we already forgotten that the most valuable asset of any organization is its people – the human resources? The people are the builders of our country. Buildings will fall but as long as we have happy, strong and persistent builders, we can always rise as a nation.