March 27, 2010
Welcome to the Philippines!
Countless of times, I’ve been asked by relatives and friends and strangers and acquaintances on why I chose to be a teacher. They say I could be a lawyer or an artist or a rock star, or a writer and then asks again on why I chose to have the word teacher attached to my first name.
Ever since I was a child, I have always wanted to become a teacher. I was excited on having the opportunity to use the colored chalk sticks and turn the blackboard into a big artwork. As I grew older, I still wanted to be a teacher but this time, I had a different reason. “I want to teach the children who are not in school“, I used to say. Pursuing art crossed my mind a lot of times but I still went with my first love because I want to inspire and change lives.
Being a teacher is not an easy job. You sleep late at night working on your lesson plan and making colorful visual aids. You wake up early in the morning not to be late in class. You deal with little playful kids who tend to be noisy and inattentive at times. You have to be patient and calm and endure the day’s work. Being a teacher doesn’t only require patience and creativity. Passion is at the top of the list.
The Philippine’s educational system is bizarre, complex and problematic. Instead of being in school, children are on the streets, begging for money. Their skins are burnt by the blazing sun and they have scars and wounds that are brought by poverty. Some of them don’t know how to read but they know how to steal. Some are holding plastic bags filled with rugby instead of a bag pack with books, crayons and pencils. Schools are too far and children have to walk a number of kilometers that takes up a lot of time. Teachers are choosing to go abroad to search for greener pastures. Classrooms are too small for 70 children, 70 desks, a teacher’s table and a blackboard. Textbooks are filled with errors and concepts that are not apt to our beliefs and culture. The budget allocated is not enough to provide all that are needed and yet, the government stays blind and deaf to the problems of their country. This is the Philippines.
As teachers, we are left with the challenge to make a difference. Let us not let the system eat us up alive. We should stand up, fight for the right to education and be good examples. Everything is possible as long as we put our hearts into it. Let us not lose hope because the time will come that the Philippine educational system will step forward.
I have learned a lot during my 1st year in the College of Education and my game face is on as I take the challenge of being a teacher who would inspire and change lives.
How about you?