“Teaching is a vocation,” so they say.  It’s undeniably true.  It is not to be treated as a job one chooses simply to have food on his table, nor an occupation with extra payment for overtime spent in school and take home work on weekends and special holidays.  One never gets rich in this source of living.  Unlike during the Spanish regime when teachers were regarded as belonging to the elite, now, according to the survey held in Manila, teachers belong to the poor economic status, going beyond poverty line.  In addition to this, classrooms are not air conditioned; some rooms are congested with too many pupils that some teachers reach the end of the school year without having memorized their pupils’ names.  Parents rarely cooperate in molding their children for they are busy with work or rearing smaller children.  Distractions are everywhere.  Computer shops outside the school, malls and other leisure parks are one-jeepney -ride away.   So, why teach?

Well, sometimes, we really see the negatives and they might cloud our thoughts and focus on what is truly important and worth pondering about.  Lets now look  at the many reasons why teachers, despite all these remarkable hindrances  towards quality education, still teach.

The big question is….. Why Teach?

First, one stays young at heart.  At the middle age people might lose the child within them while worrying about problems.  Sometimes, the solutions are easy.  And teachers dealing with young children adopt their young heart in dealing with problems. It is easier for them to laugh wholeheartedly since they can see these in the children that they are handling.

Second, lives are touched.  It is because one deals with people’s true emotion.  Teachers develop not only the intellectual capacity of the child but his emotions as well.  Pupils confide to their teachers to ask for guidance and advice.  And sometimes, even the bullies, get a complete turn-around, once listened to and understood.

Third, it is a great mental exercise.  Imagine, memorizing and mastering different concepts to be taught to children, then trying different strategies and approaches to ensure learning of pupils with varying learning styles, then making assessments to their learning by producing different test materials.  Classroom management is also to be thought well of.

Fourth, something new happen everyday.  It’s like being in a movie scene everyday.  Children laugh at silly jokes, and then cry at your stories.  After a while, they fight among themselves only to feel sorry afterwards and forgive each other for fighting.  Then they write and listen and read and once they get tired, they do something else.  Its amazing how these children seem to have boundless energy to keep teachers busy the whole day thinking of activities for them and end up surprising their teacher with what they will do differently from what is expected of them.  They’re unconsciously reminding us of individuality.

Fifth, it is an endless challenge.  a teacher never runs out of things to do, starting from paper works, mingling with parents, children and other school personnel, to settling disputes among pupils and checking out whether they have food to eat during recess time or lunch and seeing to it that they are well taken care of if they got wounded or sick inside school premises.  This is the reason why a teacher never runs out of a new story to share to his family at night.

Sixth, teachers are loved and respected by people who are not related to them.  During birthdays and Christmas season, they receive gifts, not only from their relatives and friends, but also from their pupils who shared their baon so as to collect enough amounts to buy gift and from parents who value them as good persons.  People talk to teachers with due respect.  They even use po and opo even if the teacher is younger than them.  It is not because they believe that these people are educated and must be treated with respect.

Last, a teacher learns about life through dealing with different people.  Every child belongs to a unique family style.  They have different family living and beliefs.  Teachers are in the middle of this social and emotional chaos that children have adapted from their family customs and traditions and she is responsible for producing a smooth flowing relationship between pupils in the classroom.  That is why a teacher is also considered a counselor who listens and understands each pupil and treats him as unique and his existence equally important.

If you will interview teachers why they are still in the profession, you will hear a lot more than what is written here.  Teaching is a self fulfilling job.  It is tiring, stressing, and even mind wrecking, yet, for teachers, there is no better job than molding the minds, heart and body of the future generation.  No matter how low the salary might be, it is still something to be proud of in the end.

By: Jannette C. Angeles, Teacher III Orion Elementary School

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