Health care: a necessity for schools and educational front liners (first of two parts)

A healthy body breeds a healthy and productive mind.

The saying above may be brief but it is impactful and applicable across generations. We all aspire to be healthy, wealthy, and wise especially as we progress chronologically (and, we hope, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually). There is nothing in this world more precious than a sound mind and a sound body. We become more prolific and dynamic when we adhere to a healthful lifestyle.

It is undeniable, though, that we have engaged in some unhealthful habits at some point in our lives; the kinds of unhealthful habits we adopt and the frequency of these can either push or even shove you come judgment day when our bodies fail. I have heard of numerous people who had some vices before but reformed and emerged even healthier than a centenarian or lived even as long as Moses (or Methuselah).

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has made all of us realize that health is paramount, whether we admit it or not. We may not be totally indispensable, but we are all valuable and so is our health most especially. The formerly contentious issue of availing of healthcare protection in pre-COVID times is now opening us all to the realization that healthcare protection is a must and a shield against future maladies, lest we think that we are as invincible as Superman or Wonder Woman.

In the case of educators and other educational front liners like us, health is a very paramount priority because we rely on our good health to become more enthusiastic and impactful in our vocation as shapers of minds and transformers of lives. Though some of us have chronic conditions of varying degrees and intensities, we still march forward like any cooperative and patriotic soldier but not to the point of blind obeisance, obsessive jingoism, or continuous neglect of oneself.

We teachers are expected to know how to take care of our health because we are in a people-centered, service-oriented field and that our students rely on us for wisdom, enlightenment, mentorship, and protection. It is undeniable that there are some of our fellow educators who tend to let off steam unexpectedly because they feel so many aches and they grimace and wail in pain and suffering. To top it all, our salaries as teachers do not generally suffice for our daily living, let alone savings.

We cannot always rely solely on government agencies, charities, or Hail Maries, let alone loans, for our treatment because we have to be primarily responsible for our own well-being and health care; however, we cannot wholly blame our fellow teachers because they are undercompensated and underinsured.

For our teachers to be able to be at their best element, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, and all schools must be aware of the importance of healthcare protection in every educator’s life. Learning institutions and agencies are supposed to be lead purveyors of healthcare protection since they teach the importance of a sound body and a sound mind.

There are many schools that already have healthcare, but what they lack are the awareness of the importance of healthcare in relation to taking care of one’s well-being and the practice of minimizing stress among teachers and other educational players, especially students. The whole world knows that too much stress contributes to poor health, yet there are many institutions that are either too callous or too neglectful- or at worse icy and nonchalant- to their teachers’ and students’ health, well-being, and psyche.

Many have surely heard of and/or personally observed many instances in which healthcare benefits are given only to tenured teachers, professors, and other regular employees by their respective educational institutions. This is a very lamentable fact because most teachers in private schools have not been regularized. And there are some of those who have served more than three years or nine consecutive semesters yet have not been tenured despite being appraised positively for their performance.

Thus, the call for providing both tenured and non-tenured educators and other employees with healthcare must be heeded. Not providing non-regular employees- especially teachers- with healthcare is tantamount to leaving them to fend for themselves in the middle of a jungle or a desert or on a deserted island.

Is healthcare an expense?
Yes, it is a necessary expense. However, it is an expense that is a worthy investment in every individual’s life. Healthcare protection redounds to better self-care because it helps us to be more responsible for our own overall health. Furthermore, healthcare is not a privilege but must be a right that all employees are supposed to possess. Employers, including schools, would benefit in the long run because they would be able to keep top talents by ensuring that their health is well taken care of.#

(Next: Why should every teacher have proper healthcare protection? What are the advantages of having healthcare protection?)

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