By the time this issue comes out, the school term would have started for those universities and colleges which go by the international academic calendar. Each time the school year opens, teachers rally to voice out their perpetual battle cry: give them more decent pay and benefits to help them support their families.
While we see them articulating their concerns, we cannot help but feel sorry for them. But their battle cry is so real that it resonates like a plaintive cry. There are testimonies of teachers so financially hard up that they live from pay check to pay check. Some of them are forced to apply for loans to make ends meet. And this is where opportunists known as “5-6” operators come in, offering them loans. But there’s a catch: they have to pay P6,000.00 for their loan of P5,000.
So let us play a little make-believe game. Imagine a world without teachers. There’s no one in the classrooms to teach the students how to read, write and do Math. There’s no one to teach them about Social Studies, Filipino, Arts, Music, Speech. Some years later, they grow up illiterate, uncultured and ignorant of how to survive in the world.
When it’s time for them to look for jobs, no company would hire them. These are illiterate and ignorant people. When they go on an entrepreneurial track, they are hampered. They have no clue on the rudiments of running a business successfully. What then would be the future of our Filipino youth? What will be the impact of this bunch of illiterates on our country’s political, economic and social development? Further, how will the outside world perceive us?
The salaries of teachers are not commensurate with the work they do, the sacrifices they make to prepare students and make them more knowledgeable, competent and skilled professionals as they join the workforce. They mold young minds and hearts, motivate and inspire students to aim higher and achieve their goals and dreams. Over and above these, they train students to develop values and ethics to be productive citizens imbued with a deep social responsibility to give back to their community. These are unquantifiable work that deserve a fair and just compensation.
We remember our teachers from way back who have inspired and molded us into what we are now. They have spent a lifetime teaching students, giving their all to help nurture minds, hearts and spirits. A decent pay is a fair reward to them.
To be an educator is a noble task. We would all be happy to see them well-compensated for the work that they do. It is only fair.