This month we celebrated Teacher’s day in recognition of the sacrifices of about 500,000 teachers all over the country. Personally, I believe that teachers, especially those teaching in public schools, are not only underappreciated, but also underpaid.
Public school teachers are often ridiculed for the creative ways they try to earn extra money. With their salary level, who could blame them, right?
Even corporate employees are always on the lookout for ‘racket’ opportunities, but they are never ridiculed for that. Then, why do we look askance at teachers who are doing the same thing?
We say that they should devote their time teaching our children how to read, write, and be better Filipino citizens. It is a legitimate argument, but have we ever thought if what our government is paying these teachers enough for them to live on?
When our children score low in achievement tests, and rank one of the lowest in international academic achievement, who do we blame? When our children speak English so broken you can’t even understand the context of what they are saying, who do we blame?
We blame the teachers who all they ever wanted is to teach.
Yet, it is difficult if your own children are going hungry because your vocation is not paying you enough. How many public school teachers have opted to go abroad to be housekeepers, maids, and caretakers?
Shall we stop blaming them, and start looking for a solution instead? They are never the problem in the first place.
The greatest teacher
My mother is a public school teacher, and she’ll retire as one. Majority of her teaching career, her monthly salary is in the lower four-figures. Can you imagine how a single parent could send her kids to school, two of which in university, with that amount of money, and yet have enough to live by?
She was able to send the four of us to college, and by the grace of God, we all graduated on time. It was not an easy endeavor. My mother, herself, is surprised how she did it all. Yes, relatives helped out, but hers is the majority of the responsibilities. My father died when I was 18, and our paternal relatives helped out from time to time.
To my mother,
Ma, thank you for all that you’ve done. I hope I have given you love, and shown you haw grateful I am for all your sacrifices. I love you, Ma.
Interesting money facts: An entry-level teacher earns on the average P15,000 per month. This data applies to the Ilocos Region. The highest minimum wage per day in the region is P253.
Though we can say from these data that a teacher is almost twice better paid than a wage earner, the question is ‘with the responsibility of educating the future leaders of our society, is P15,000 a month commensurate for the efforts involved? Case in point: my mother teaches Grades 5 and 6, yet she isn’t paid for two.