In My Eyes: by Edward B. Antonio
Philippine teachers are one of the lowest paid yet most abused workers in the world.
“Teachers bear the agony of low salaries, high prices of commodities, unfair labor practices, heavy workload and contractualization, among others. These are also the everyday sufferings of the Filipino workers, thus our reason to take solidarity with the rest of the working class,” Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) National Chairperson Benjo Basas said last year.
He also lamented the no-salary-hike policy of the Aquino administration and his doubtful promises that he would study the possibility this year.
The TDC called on Malacanang to provide increase in salaries and other means of benefits for teachers and government employees through reduction in taxes, increase in productivity enhancement incentive and scrapping of divisive and deceptive performance-based bonus and granting of more benefits under the Government Service Insurance System.
Victorino Q. Abrugar who writes to transform the existential Philippines says it better why Philippine public school teachers deserve more than their current salary.
He cites 10 reasons:
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.#