By: Aleli T. Angeles (Teacher I) City of Balanga National High School
Today is a crucial time when teachers are needed more than ever, they are instead deserting the profession. There are now so many of them throwing away their chalk and walking out of the classroom and looking for work outside the teaching field locally or internationally. It is said that the happiness they once felt has been sucked out and they’ve had enough of being underpaid and overworked. This phenomenon is such a serious crisis being experienced in schools not only in our country but as well around the world. And the students are suffering and that’s a significant failure for the world’s future.
Many people have the notion of what do teachers have to complain about? An 8-hour job, high salary, summer vacation, holiday break, a good work-life balance, what is there to complain about?
To an onlooker or just a passer-by who sees it from the outside, it may seem like that. But the real scenario is that teachers do not just teach the students, they also spend time to work with their superiors and other teachers developing curriculum, planning new teaching strategies, going to different kinds of meetings, preparing classroom lessons, home visiting their students particularly the troubled ones and many more. A teacher must be all over everything. The role of a teacher nowadays is all encompassing, becoming infinite which is a challenge for a teacher.
Teaching in the modern era has become much more complex so teachers are finding this tension between doing their work well and teaching their students well and giving what their students deserve. Teachers’ working condition are our students’ learning conditions.
A first time teacher always felt that he would never want to leave teaching thinking that he can make a difference in the world. Idealism and naivety of the young educators who are aware of the real scenario in the education sector had an eye-opening experience and become immersed in the authentic world of teaching. You watch your students grow throughout the years that they are in your school and change into a blossoming young adult.
But as time went on the demands of the profession grew, pressure at work escalated and when the pandemic hit the whole world, schools were forced to sail across one of the world’s longest series of lockdowns. It tested not only the physical ability but also the mental health of the teachers and students as well. It is frightening that there are lots of good teachers leaving. The government is taking a good look at why this is happening and is already doing something to address this alarming crisis.
Now, let us go back to where we started. Let us talk to our younger self. Why do you want to teach? We are teaching the children to be life-long learners. We are teaching the world’s future leaders. Teaching is a calling. It is a vocation. I want to be the teacher that I needed. To become teachers of tomorrow, we must be passionate about teaching and can’t wait to get into the classroom. There are still so many minds to nurture… so few hands working for the future.