I hated my teachers. Well, most of them.
Most do not have the dedication and drive. They recite from the presentation slides. And they’re inutile without them. Some lack the discernment that students are not interested in their litany of domestic problems. Most teachers are just a chapter ahead of the student. They get away with bluffing. Unless required, they do not develop or update themselves. Quizzes are recycled. Examples and illustrations are decades old.
A few take advantage of the students as the captive market. Polvoron (pressed milk powder) and tocino (sweetened pork) are the usual bestsellers. Some hardly ran out of office supplies. These are submitted as part of the final requirements.
Teaching is similar to priesthood. It is a “career” that one does for life. This road is supposed to be taken with the least consideration for financial or personal gains. The wishful thinks that perhaps students will remember the lessons one teaches when they grow old. Apparently, it is a consolation that the mark a teacher leaves in the heart of the students is its own reward.
Teaching supposedly comes with other non-monetary “perks”. As lessons progress, a teacher is supposed to find himself learning new things. Although the lessons may be similar across all students, the teacher is expected to experiment a variety of methods to facilitate learning. Stress is supposedly easy to overcome by one’s love for the vocation. A teacher cannot claim expertise in one topic. As students ask different questions, he is supposed to be encouraged to update and expand his own knowledge and understanding
It was supposed to be rewarding.
Teachers today still speak to a roomful of students. Technology is supposed to make their work easier. Yet, unlike before, there is no way to determine who among the students is actually listening. Attentiveness in the classroom easily “evaporates”. The rows of glowing screens from laptops and smartphones are merely indicators of activity. Some may be taking notes. Most may just be perusing Facebook or playing games. These distractions the teacher has to compete with.
The current culture is not helpful. It blames teachers for not teaching values yet it highly emphasizes success and profits at all costs. This is evident in the increasing rate of plagiarism and cheating among students.
Excellence is supposed to be developed in school but mediocrity is celebrated in media and tolerated in and by the family. Students submit mediocre work but expect high credit for effort. Students bring these popular cultures to the classroom.
It would seem that only the most devoted educator choose to stay on. Surprisingly, most hold on to their positions. In this country, it is not too difficult to become a teacher. As long as one can sustain his talking in front of students, one can almost be sure of tenure. Perhaps this is also a reward.
Now it’s my turn to teach. I make sure that I don’t end up hating myself.
Postscript: I want to thank and honor Mrs. Esperanza Brown of Chiang Kai Shek College. I can write today because you were the only one who believed I could.
(This article is written in response to the invitation of Metrobank Foundation in celebration of National Teacher’s Month.)
Real Carpio So lectures on strategy and human resource management at the Management and Organization Department of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University. He is also an entrepreneur and a management consultant. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archives can be accessed at realwalksonwater.wordpress.com. The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.