It is unfortunate that the modern world is just beginning to understand the importance of teachers and administrators.
After World War II, there was a worldwide baby boom. That generation of young people created a massive need for schools and teachers.
In many cases, teachers were drafted for the job without adequate qualifications; if not academically limited, they are often unsuited in personality. Also the hands of the student’s administrators were tied when it comes to discipline.
Yet, many parents fail to realize that some of the most influential people in the children’s lives were teachers. My Grade Five niece would often say: “Mark, this is what our teacher says,” or “Mark, this is what we would do,” etc.
Most of our readers can probably recall the good and bad teachers they had. There are those inspiring teachers who make such an impact they shall never be forgotten.
Perhaps, it was a high school teacher, a journalism teacher, the history professor, the math wizard, a basketball coach teacher, or a gardening teacher who set a lifelong course.
Most of you could probably name your favorite teachers. Bud sadly, the list of such teachers is usually quite short.
Then, there are also teachers who bored students to death, who never seemed to motivate, who were hard to understand and unmerciful in giving grades. We can name them, too.
Between those extremes are a majority of teachers. We neither remember them for good or bad. We don’t remember them at all. Creative, innovative, memorable teachers are few and far between. Why should that be?
Yes, there are those dedicated educators who teach for the joy of teaching, who receive life’s greatest pleasure from giving knowledge, providing direction, motivation and inspiration for young people. Emotionally, there are few greater thrills than the experience of helping a youngster learn. But good teachers and administrators are hard to find for the following reasons:
1. SALARIES ARE NOT COMPETITIVE with other professions of equal or less education and responsibility. In many private firms, a janitor earns more than the school teacher.
2. In many schools, DISCIPLINE IS AT AN ALL TIME LOW – VIOLENCE, AN ALL TIME HIGH. Teachers most often do not feel ‘safe’ in the hallowed halls of their own schools. Administrators are often criticized by naïve parents for being too tough.
3. The teaching profession has devised NO ADEQUATE WAY TO REWARD THE TRULY INSPIRING TEACHERS. Inferior teachers and good teachers are generally compensated the same.
4. THE TEACHING PROFESSION IS NOT HELD IN SUFFICIENT RESPECT OR HONOR. Consider what a well-off family said about a daughter taking up teaching. Dad’s a lawyer; Mom’s a doctor and they both asked: “So you want to be a teacher? What do you want to do a thing like that for?” They knew only too well that teaching is the most taxed and yet underpaid of all professions.
The ‘cliché,’ ‘you get what you pay for,’ is true particularly for teaching. Traditionally, teachers are among the lowest paid of all the educated professions. While advances are being made in many areas, faculty salaries lag behind comparably educated people in other fields.
That is why the teachers’ strikes and mass leavings in the past were common for these teachers who wanted to improve their lot. How far can the salary of an ordinary teacher go these days? Just think of the increasing prices of commodities these days, the fares of going back and forth to school; children to support, etc. The salaries hardly make both ends meet. While the government is spending the taxpayers money in expensive trips abroad; or pouring a big slice to defense and infrastructures, the lot of the poor teachers remain unchanged through the years. Teachers should be given due compensation and recognition because in their hands like the future of the world. Yes, what would become of our schools and children if we have no competent teachers who will teach them the basic rudiments and knowledge in a particular branch of learning? How would they become doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, pharmacists, scientist, aviators, etcs. if there were no good teachers to teach and influence them at all.
I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these highly capable, to level men and women in corporate world who would have joined the teaching profession or become academic administrators had they been able to earn salaries higher than those now paid in the teaching profession. And if most of them had become teachers and educational administrators what kind of teachers or what kind of educational system would we have?
These corporate executives have the ability to motivate employees; convince the board of directors, sell their products. Some have taken companies on the verge of bankruptcy and brought them back to profitability. Dedication, hard work, determination, they make the right decisions. Perhaps, we would have a good educational system if teachers were being paid above their subsistence level salary.
Not all teachers, however, have remained long in the teaching profession. Some applied to work abroad; others branched into agrifarming like poultry and livestock raising; other in the business process outsourcing; etc.
It is unfortunate also, that our Western society has put so much emphasis on materialism. These people also believe that success means having many things around the house. Smart phones, personal computer, televisions, electrical appliances, etc. – all products of western culture.
And those dedicated teachers who stayed on the job when they could have earned more in another filed deserved admiration.
My mother has been teaching for more than 25 years now in the Grade School but she still considers teaching a noble profession. She said she likes her job and is happy no matter if the remuneration is small. But I think admiration and job satisfaction are not always the answer.
Another thing, the teaching profession is also at the bottom of the desired career list of many young people today. When children are asked what they want to be when they grow up. They answer almost every profession but teacher.
Yes, the best of the college students, or those ‘cream of the crop,’ seldom enter teaching programs. There is not bright economic future on it.
According to a survey, most of the students who are studying to be teachers today score in the bottom 25% of the Teacher’s Examination. That shows how far we’ve slipped in making teaching attractive.
One father says to his daughter: “Talagang bobo si Vice. Bagay sa kanya, eh, maging titser na lang…”
If this trend continues, what would become of our educational institution? Since the teachers are important people who mold and influence our children’s development and well-being, let us attract them to the profession by giving them proper incentives and other fringe benefits.
I believe that teachers can give their best to education only when they are freed from the gnawing pangs of economic insecurity.