Congratulations! A big and loud one to match your guts of choosing the harder path of teaching.
Don’t get me wrong, by now I know that your application is on its way or probably have arrived at someone’s desk for final approval. Let it play in your head multiple times and savor that moment, a noble job waiting for you to unwrap. More than its sweet victory hanging by the scaffold of challenges I once congratulate you for making that choice, I know it’s not easy.
I took the very same path like you and have fought battles long and hard, that I wish someone told me the exact same thing I am going to share to all of you.
From an old soldier to a new one I will give you my worn out map on how to get through the obstacles in our own war field of teaching, use it to come out as a better soldier – each and accomplished dream of your student will be your badge worn for life.
They say teachers educate students, but teachers also educate their co-teachers to discuss strategies on how you can be performing better in time. My narrative is here to remind you that there are certain facts that will help you start your noble career. This brings me to the very basic knowledge of Educational Statistics, your primary responsibility as a pursuant of this profession is be aware of the data where our education flunks and improve on them. These data collated will help you not only in planning but making a rock solid formation on how you will be consistent on teaching. School drop-outs, prefect records, children who can’t afford to study creates pattern for you to study and figure out what’s wrong. The National Achievement Test average scores, passing percentage rates amongst the inconsistencies reaffirm the problems that you agreed to take part and correct within your best efforts. These numbers are not just mere numbers but challenges and problems you need solve, let it be the gas to the fire that was lit up ever since you chose the profession, work on it with passion everyday of your teaching life.
In your two-year contract, you don’t have time to test the waters and take into consideration your demons, now is the time to do it. Once you enter the classroom the statistics I told you about will be your students. The lowest scoring kid in the national examination will be on your class, the student who fail 3x is sitting at the corner, these numbers will become faces, faces that will be familiar because you will see them everyday. Those numbers have the chance to change because you can now mold these students. Hold on to them because these are your future badges. Teaching doesn’t promise you any rich or fame, what it gives you is the pride that comes with the success of your students. Teaching is all about sacrifices, dedicating your life to build someone else’s dream.
I want you to take this to your heart, remember it clearly that teaching isn’t a one trick pony where you get to just educate, in a public school setting you must have a lot of patience and you’re bound to be loving. You will have more responsibilities than reading the lesson or giving the quiz, you’re going to wipe a student who came to school sick, you need to wipe tears of a student bound to fail so you better not come empty handed to public schools as the students have their own challenges that you might need to carry for them to pay full attention in your class.
I am not here to attack your courage or purge them so you will run away from this job. I am just simply drawing the enemies you might encounter in the future. This is a very noble job and it is no joke. At times when you feel you did your best and there wasn’t any credit, take a good look at your students. Imagine them having business and excelling in their careers and all the other stuff they are able to do because of you. They might learn a basic literacy skill of Reading, Writing and Counting but during those times a teacher gives lessons of attitude too. Through our teachers we learn that success comes from not giving up even though the circumstances are hard and a great consideration for others, things we see them do everyday.
Now if you’re thinking that the students are the only challenge in the system, you’re wrong. Being a public school, under the government directive, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that it might be rotten to the core. With the sight of government officials being fatigued on this kind of system, don’t let yourself be like them, hold on to your passion. Do not expect a complete team in this battle, and if it seems that you’re the captain, lead them. Be contagious and your passion will spread like a disease. There will always be politics but don’t play that game as it will taint you and divert your attention from the real target. For whatever it is worth, be the soldier that comes out of the battle alive.
Public school system is a mere reflection of our government, as a Filipino citizen you are prepared for the arena you’re about to enter. Manage your expectations and make sure you can adapt easily. I want you to realize that we are called modern-day heroes because we do unimaginable things in exchange of nothing. No extra monetary reward, no shiny career, no promise of fame that I can conclude a good teacher is selfless. Ego is not a welcome topic, because in this job you may need to drop yourself sometimes and think of your students completely.
I will leave the future bitterness of the career for you to taste. Truth is, I am not here to discourage you, but I will also not sugarcoat teaching too. What this nation need are teachers made up of soldiered heart, that doesn’t stumble in weakness or hard circumstances and always in check with his principles. What we need are teachers like you strong-armed with his passion that will promote chance and uphold quality education amidst any circumstances. A soldiered heart willing to fight against the system, but also soft enough to render love for the students’ dream. We may be few and outnumbered but I am confident we will fight until the end.
If one day I see you at the war zone, smile at me and I will personally congratulate you knowing you never gave up.