ObserverThere is no doubt that public school teachers deserve better treatment from government policy makers. No doubt that the kind of citizenry we are developing in the near and distant futures, families and the Philippines will largely depend on how we educate our young. Indeed there is a burning need to provide teachers decent salaries, the profession tasked in human development.
The present corps of public school teachers however is far luckier than teachers during my time, somewhere in the 60’s. We were indeed the lowest-paid national government employees then. We began with P212/month salary which later became P316. It was hard to support a family of 6 children, so I gambled; transferred to the former Department of Public Information, first as a casual employee in 1986. My first salary even with just a casual status was P500/monthly, far higher than my DECS salary as a permanent teacher. Atty. Vicente M. Solis, Jr. was the regional director.
As the years went by I got promoted until I became OIC regional director in 1998 and I retired in 2004.
The five-digit salary of the teachers now amounting to about P15,000(?) is no longer small.
But if we extensively analyze the role they play in educating our children, the amount is not adequate.
To be fair, they have to be increased to the amount of P25,000 as proposed by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party -list President Rep. Antonio Tinio in his House Bill No.245.
Alongside, this proposal there is also a need to look into the curricula of teacher-training institutions. We should produce the best teachers, aptly trained in high-caliber teacher- training institutions.
We are surprised at the data of enrollees in teacher training institutions. We seldom see high school valedictorians/salutatorians enroll in teacher-training educational establishments. Meaning – teaching is not an attractive profession.
May I share an unforgettable experience in my first year of teaching in the elementary grades when I was barely 20 years old. I was assigned in a far-flung barrio (barangay now) of Hiagsam (originally named Karangag) in Barugo in 1961. It was a one-teacher-barrio school with 3 grades (I, II, III), under me. There was no school building. I held classes in a chapel. So, I mobilized the “barriohanons” under the leadership of a Tiniente del Barugo (now Brgy. Captain) to help me build a school. It was done. No help was received from government. It was a concerted effort of baryohanons. Of course my salary of P202 got slimmed because I provided the snacks, sumsumanon and tuba. They brought their own lunch.
In about 2 weeks I was already holding my classes in the one-room-school building of nipa, wood and bamboo.
Mayda pa ba ini yana?