Every year, for an entire month, thanks to a proclamation issued by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in 2011, teachers are thrust into the limelight.
From September 5 to October 5, teachers will be feted and showered with adulating attention and gifts.
The luckier few are given plaques and trophies for excellent work.
Teachers are, indeed, fortunate in that the entire country recognizes them and their contribution to society for one whole month. The observance of National Teachers’ Month culminates on October 5, which has been designated National Teachers’ Day under Republic Act 10743, in conjunction with the World Teachers’ Day on the same date as set by the United Nations.
In their honor, PHLPost also recently released postage stamps.
How many professionals get to be recognized this way?
Under the law, National Teachers’ Day is a special working holiday. Led by the Department of Education, all government agencies and instrumentalities, including local government units, are required to “encourage and afford sufficient time and opportunities for their employees to engage and participate in any activity conducted within the premises of their offices or establishments in celebration of the National Teachers’ Day.”
Why is there a law mandating the nationwide recognition of teachers? Are they such a special breed that the nation should go to such lengths to honor them?
The answer is yes. The hard work and great sacrifice it entails to be an effective teacher, the contribution they play in ensuring that the country never runs out of thinking, intelligent professionals and citizens, more than justifies the recognition bequeathed them by law.
If one were to examine the work of teachers, especially public elementary and high school mentors, one will get to know the many roles played by them. In and out of school, teachers serve as parents, guardians, counselors, caregivers, advisers, sometimes entertainers. They don’t just improve a child’s intellect, they help mold personalities. Their work is not confined inside a classroom or within the walls of a school building; it extends to their abodes. Just like their students, they bring home “assignments” – tasks that were left unfinished in school, papers to be corrected, evaluated and graded, lesson plans to be studied.
And even inside their own homes, teachers are sought by students. They will run to the teacher for a slew of concerns, from academic to personal.
So teachers not only act as mentors or coaches. They help build the lives of students, and in so doing, also build a nation.
For this year’s celebration of National Teachers’ Month, Education Secretary Leonor Briones has approved the theme, “Guro Kabalikat sa Pagbabago” (Teachers are partners for change).
Briones said it all when she explained this special celebration is meant to “honor those who are in the teaching profession and to acknowledge and give emphasis on their crucial role, loyal service and dedicated commitment of teachers in developing globally-minded citizens, nurturing families, strengthening communities, and building the nation.”
The Education chief, during this special month’s activities to honor teachers, also aims to “revitalize the image of and respect for teaching as a vocation by increasing public awareness on the value of teachers in Philippine society and to take the occasion as an opportunity for building the image of teaching as an attractive and fulfilling profession.”
Teachers know that their humble vocation fortifies a nation. Education is crucial to a nation’s progress.
So yes, it is fitting that the country should recognize the important role of teachers, once a year. They more than deserve the accolades.
(The author is Teacher III of Baua National High School, Gonzaga Cagayan)