The aca­demi­cian’s dilemma

Watchmen Daily Journal - - Opinion -

Last Wed­nes­day, Car­los Hi­lado Memo­rial State Col­lege rec­og­nized teach­ers who serve self­lessly, with the cur­rent long­est-serv­ing fac­ulty mem­ber log­ging 40 years at the job. In two or three years, the long­est-serv­ing will re­tire. I asked him, “What are your plans af­ter re­tire­ment?” The ed­u­ca­tor said he in­tended to con­tinue his ‘apos­tolic duty’ (a.k.a. tak­ing care of his grand­chil­dren), along with gar­den­ing and set­ting-up a saris­ari store.

Much like grad­u­a­tion, re­tire­ment is part of the process; both are vi­tal be­cause ev­ery exit comes with a new be­gin­ning. Teach­ers in­vest their time study­ing, pub­lish­ing re­search, and do­ing pa­per­work un­til it’s time to hang up the gloves.

The ex­ten­sive train­ing teach­ers un­dergo in or­der to give their best to the coun­try’s fu­ture lead­ers sig­ni­fies their sheer ded­i­ca­tion to ed­u­ca­tion. As a re­sult, be­cause of their hard work, the academe rec­og­nizes their sac­ri­fices; ev­ery three years, there is a cy­cle to el­e­vate teach­ers to a pro­fes­so­rial po­si­tion. For ed­u­ca­tors, mone­tary mat­ters are sec­ondary – I al­ways re­mind my stu­dents, as a teacher, your pocket will not be full but you will be thank­ful af­ter ed­u­cat­ing a soul.

In higher ed­u­ca­tion, the top po­si­tion is full pro­fes­sor; it’s why the ti­tle of “pro­fes­sor” is re­served for an in­di­vid­ual who achieves such a stature. As a full pro­fes­sor (depend­ing on the in­sti­tu­tion), one can earn P180,000 a month; how­ever, be­fore­hand, one must be will­ing to slave away con­duct­ing re­search and pub­lish­ing find­ings – it is not dis­sim­i­lar to “Game of Thrones.”

In the same vein as Aris­to­tle’s quote, “a man is a po­lit­i­cal an­i­mal,” pol­i­tics also lurks within the academe, from “credit grab­bing” to (the worst) steal­ing ideas; much like the food chain, the one with the strong­est aca­demic cre­den­tials or qual­i­fi­ca­tions will pre­vail and be­come the top preda­tor. Fac­ulty mem­bers with a master’s de­gree or un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree are pri­mar­ily pro­duc­ing out­put as their work­load orig­i­nates from the “top preda­tors.”

Why do teach­ers teach?

It may be cliché to say ed­u­ca­tors love teach­ing but they con­tinue to pur­sue the pro­fes­sion despite hav­ing to go into debt. Many teach­ers opt to bor­row loans be­cause their mea­ger salary is not enough to ful­fill their need to pur­sue a post-grad­u­ate de­gree – they say, a teacher with­out a loan is not a teacher. A teacher with­out a post-grad­u­ate de­gree is viewed as in­com­pe­tent by in­sti­tu­tions of higher ed­u­ca­tion. They also of­ten go down this route to avoid a process called “re­turn of ser­vice,” where one se­mes­ter is equiv­a­lent to three years of re­turn of ser­vice.

This dilemma re­mains a part of the life of teach­ers, who are sim­i­lar to sec­ond-class cit­i­zens; despite a high po­si­tion in academia, they still need mas­sive amounts of cash to sup­port their ba­sic needs.

In­doc­tri­na­tion is part of ped­a­gogy

As so­cial in­equal­ity and in­jus­tice be­comes more com­mon­place to­day, teach­ers have a duty to open stu­dents’ eyes to re­al­ity and en­sure they are fully aware of so­cial is­sues. How­ever, when a teacher ed­u­cates stu­dents on com­bat­ting fake news or in­str ucts them on how to crit­i­cize the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion, they are tagged as “in­cit­ing re­bel­lion.”

In­doc­tri­na­tion is a part of ev­ery in­sti­tu­tion, from reli­gion to ed­u­ca­tion. Re­mem­ber, Je­sus Christ in­doc­tri­nated his apos­tles about theod­icy. The way in which the mil­i­tary be­lieves their duty is to

de­fend the peo­ple and obey their com­man­der-in-chief is in­doc­tri­na­tion.

The real prob­lem is teach­ers hav­ing their pro­gres­sive views si­lenced, not in­doc­tri­na­tion. Teach­ers are ed­u­ca­tors, not train­ers; stop si­lenc­ing us on press­ing is­sues.

Be­ing a teacher is not an easy task, it is a sac­ri­fice. We are teach­ers in­side and out­side the class­room. What makes it a noble pro­fes­sion is, despite the low pay and heavy work­load, the ed­uca on field is pur­sued by many se­nior high school stu­dents.

My en­joy­ment of teach­ing gives me strength and I hope my stu­dents will some­day know me not by my name but by the be­liefs and ideals I in­stilled in them. Af­ter all, as I con­tinue to grow, some­how, they will visit me in my cu­bi­cle and again re­mind me that be­ing a teacher is God’s gift to hu­man­ity./WDJ

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