The Extra Mile Teachers Walk

Search any site on the Internet for the highest paid professions in the world and you will not find “teachers” in the top 30. Expand your search and look for the list of professions in different countries where the practitioners receive the best compensation packages and you will find out that teaching is not among them. You will not find a country where teachers are ranked among the highest money-earners.

Teaching not classified among the highest paying jobs, of course, is not surprising. That has been the case since time immemorial and it is not expected to change anytime soon. However, insufficient remuneration does not deter teachers from performing the role they have embraced. Such is only one of the steps in the extra mile that teachers need to walk when they have accepted that teaching is not merely a profession but a vocation. It is not merely a job to perform but an obligation to carry out.

Acknowledging that teaching is not merely a job but an obligation to carry out is what makes teachers go the extra mile, to do what is more than required in the performance of their tasks, including sacrificing personal resources…sometimes happiness. Teachers know the nature of the responsibility that they agreed to fulfill when they signed up for the job. They know it’s not easy. How in the world would one consider being responsible for the education of other people, especially the young ones, easy? When did it become easy to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and values and the development of skills of your fellow human beings?

If only pay would be commensurate to how significant is one’s job in the enlightenment of the soul, the preservation and enhancement of the fabric of society, and the socio-economic development of a nation then teachers would get paid handsomely.

But it is what it is. Teaching is not a profitable profession. Realities teachers confront in the academe could really make them say a lot of things in the “present unreal conditional” form. There are times that they couldn’t also help but make a “wish-statement” like “I wish that I were a health care professional.”

Why?

Health care professionals (physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, etc.) consistently round out the top 10 in the lists of highest-paid professionals.

What they (the medical practitioners and their fellow health workers) do, maintenance and restoration of  good health is very important. For that, they deserve the pay they get, most especially during this time that the coronavirus pandemic is still raging. But nurturing the human spirit…helping a person achieve holistic development is as equally important, if not more important. What professional endeavor could be more meaningful than helping your fellow men achieve their full potential for them to become responsible human beings and productive members of society?

And not only are the teachers not getting the pay commensurate to the importance of the work they do and the effort they need to exert when doing their job, but they don’t also get the recognition they deserve.

American society, for example, does not generally view teachers in the same way, as they view other professionals; the belief that “anyone can teach” is not found in other professions (i.e., not just anyone can play professional baseball, or be an accountant or engineer, or practice law or medicine.)1

Such is the indifference teachers, as professionals, are getting.

How true is the contention that “anyone can teach?” Those who know what it takes to become a teacher would say it is a fallacy.

Education is not just a matter of whether you can teach or not but also whether or not you can make the students learn. Even if a person is an expert in a field of learning it is not a guarantee that he can teach what he knows. Knowing something is different from knowing how to teach it.

Hiring just anyone to become a teacher would be a huge mistake. Hiring somebody to teach a language just because he or she could speak that language  is a huge mistake. It takes a lot to become a teacher. Teachers undergo rigid training for them to hone their pedagogical skills. They read a lot knowing that teaching and learning are both grounded on Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and other related fields. They know they need to be familiar not only in their field of expertise but with different principles and strategies to effectively deliver learning and teaching. They know that when they are done teaching they still have to evaluate the learning.

The list of the things that teachers need to know and to do is long. At the end of that long list are two characteristics that teachers need to develop if they wish to succeed in the profession – PASSION for their work and COMPASSION for the students.

How then in the world it becomes possible that just “anyone can teach?”

Be that as it may, teaching will forever be a NOBLE PROFESSION! Nothing can diminish its intrinsic value.

One thing is for sure, all successful professionals in the world – business executives, lawyers, architects, engineers, surgeons, physicians, dentists, nurses, brokers, etc. – know that their teachers contributed a thing or two into whatever they have become.

———-

1 Tichenor M.S., Tichenor, J.M. (2005). Understanding teachers’ perspectives on professionalism. ERIC.

Ang Tatlong Salaan Ni Socrates

Karamihan sa atin ay kilala ang Griyegong pilosopo na si Socrates. Pilosopo na hindi pabalang at baluktot ang pangangatwiran kundi isang pantas sa pagmamatwid.

At tunay ngang hindi baluktot kung mangatwiran at hindi balikong mag-isip si Socrates sa dahilang bago niya paniwalaan ang isang bagay ay bubusisiin muna niya ito’t pag-aaralan. Gaano man ito kasimple o maaaring sa iba ay wala namang kuwenta at hindi na kaylangan pang pagaksayahan ng panahon upang surii’t sisiyasatin.

Ang ganitong pananaw ni Socrates minsan ay nasubok nang isang araw ay may lumapit sa kanya’t sinabing, “May sasabihi ako sa iyo. May nabalitaan ako tungkol sa isa mong kaybigan.”

Tayo ba, ano ang gagawin nati’t sasabihin kung biglang may nagbulong sa atin ng ganyan?

Kadalasan na ang isinasagot natin eh ganito, “Ow talaga! Ano iyon? Sino ba siya? Sige ikuwento mo nga.” Sana mali ako.

Pero, iba si Socrates. Ito ang isinagot niya sa taong nagbulong sa kanya niyon.

“Teka muna. Bago mo sabihin sa akin ang alin mang bagay tungkol sa ibang tao ay hayaan mong gamitin ko muna ang aking tatlong salaan.”

“Salaan? Tatlo?”

“Tama ka… tatlong salaan.” Ang sagot ni Socrates.  “Kaylangang salain muna natin ang ano mang bagay na paguusapan natin tungkol sa ibang tao. At tatlo ang salaang ginagamit ko pagdating sa ganyang bagay.”

“Sige. Ano iyong una?”

“Ang una ay ang salaan ng katotohanan. Ang tanong, sigurado ka bang totoo ang sasabihin mong iyan sa akin?”

“Ah. Hindi eh. Kasi nadinig ko lang. May nagsabi din lang sa akin.”

“Oh. Ganoon ba!? Hindi mo pala sigurado kung totoo nga ang gusto mong sabihin sa akin. Siya… sige. Sa pangalawang salaan tayo. Ang salaan ng kabutihan. Iyan bang sasabihin mo sa akin tungkol sa kaybigan ko ay maganda o kaya’y mabuti?”

“Ay hindi. Kasiraan nga niya ang bagay na sasabihin ko.”

“Ibig mo sabihin may sasabihin ka sa akin na kasiraan ng isang tao at hindi mo sigurado kung totoo ito?

Tumango, ngunit tahimik, ang kausap ni Socrates.

Sige… gamitin natin ang pangatlong salaan. Baka naman dito eh pumasa ka. Ito’y ang salaam ng kahalagahan. Gaano ba kahalaga iyang sasabihin mo sa akin? Magagamit ko ba iyan? Makakatulong ba iyan sa akin? Dagdag kaalaman ba iyan na magagamit ko sa ano mang bahagi ng buhay ko?

Hindi na nagsalita ang kausap ni Socrates. Yumuko na lamang ito.

“Malinaw na sa akin. Ang sasabihin mo ay hindi mo sigurado kung totoo at ito’y hindi pa maganda. Wika mo nga kasiraan iyan ng kaybigan ko. At kung totoo man iyan eh ano naman ang halaga niya sa akin? Hindi naman pala makakatulong?. Eh bakit kaylangan mo pang sabihin?”

Tikom ang bibig, umalis na lamang ang kausap ni Socrates…

The Business Venture Called Politics

How many of the incumbent local and national officials in the Philippines (and also in your own country) can come forward and with  heads held high say that they did not buy their way  to  victory?

The painful truth is that elections have turned out to be a business venture. Politicians are like businessmen who if they hope to win must be willing to make an investment. And the investor in the politicians would expect a profit, not just a return on investment.

How much should a politician invest? Do the math.

According to the Commission on Elections, the number of registered voters for 2022 polls hit 63 million.

Last year (2020), the House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 6095 amending provisions of RA No. 7166. The bill provides that those running for President and Vice President can spend up to P50 per voter for their campaign. That used to be P10 per voter. From P3, senators, district representatives, governor, vice governor, board members, mayor, vice-mayor, and councilors are now allowed to spend up to P30 per voter. But those who were not born yesterday know that candidates for national and local elections spend way much beyond what the laws allow.

Beyond what the statutes allow, a candidate has to dig deeper into his pocket if he hopes to win. Vote-buying is no longer a secret making this writer say that election now is nothing but a business venture. It is no longer the best and most qualified candidates getting elected but the ones who have enormous financial resources.

A candidate willing to pay at least P500 for every voter is likely to win. The percentage for winning gets higher if the one seeking an elective position has the capacity of making that amount higher… like P1000 to P2000 for each vote.

Now, do the Math if you wish to know how much a candidate needs to prepare for his election bid. Include the amount needed for campaign advertisement, salaries of campaign leaders per geographical unit (province, town, city, barangay, districts, or zones) depending on which position is being sought, and other miscellaneous expenses. Don’t forget to add the amount a candidate is willing to pay for each voter (multiplied by the number of voters.)

For the millions of pesos those candidates extricate from their coffers what do they wish to get in return?

It’s not difficult to determine what drives people to run for election (and seek re-election). It’s as simple as A, B, or C.

A – a political position is a business venture for which they expect to get returns for their investments and a whole lot of profit (How? Use your imagination!!!).

B – an opportunity to wield power allowing the one who holds it to protect personal and family interests and to advance other personal motives and agendas.

C – love for public service.

The citizens who care are hoping it’s the C. For those who sell their votes, A and B. Why? Come on, don’t tell me you don’t know.

Let me end the way I started – with the following question.

How many of the country’s incumbent local and national officials can come forward and with a head held high say that they did not buy their way  to  victory?

Allow me to ask one more question.

How many local and national officials whose assets did not exponentially increase at the end of their terms?

And one more…

How many of them ran (and obviously won) and will seek reelection – for the love of public service?

%d bloggers like this: