In a sari-sari store in our community, few blocks away from our house, I am always treated with special attention. The owner of the store is an old couple; too old they could be my parents or even my grandparents. Even though they are twice, even thrice as old as I am, they always talk to me with the words “Ho or Opo Sir”, not because I am a “good paying-suki” but simply because I am a teacher.
When I play basketball, old and young; good and not-so-good; team mates and opposing players alike treats me with respect, not because I am the best player there is, but simply because I am a teacher.
In a queue of a line, an old couple, who are both retired teachers, was allowed to go in front, not because they are old, but because most of those who are in line are their former students.
These are just some of the “small unofficial benefits” given to a teacher.
But along these small benefits come big duties and responsibilities.
Just like any other profession, teaching is not a walk in the park. It’s not easy to become a professional teacher.
According to Article IV Section 1 and 2 of Resolution No. 435, series of 1997, also known as the CODE OF ETHICS of Professional Teachers, adopted and promulgated by the PRC’s BOARD for PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS: (1) Every teacher shall actively help insure that teaching is the noblest profession, and shall manifest genuine enthusiasm and pride in teaching as a noble calling; and (2) Every teacher shall uphold the highest possible standards of quality education, shall make the best preparation for the career of teaching, and shall be at his best at all times in the practice of the profession.
A friend once asked me a question; bakit ka nag-teacher, mas bagay sa ‘yo kung tinapos mo ang engineering? I answered the question with a question; bakit masama ba maging teacher?
I am happy with what I am doing now. And I am proud to say that I am a teacher.
I will not get a huge Pabaon when I retire. My family can’t go for trips abroad, even if I save every centavo of my salary for two years. A lifetime savings will not be enough to buy a huge house in a posh subdivision. It’s only in my dreams that I can have a third-hand high-end sports car.
But in the end, these are not important.
I will receive heaps of smiles as Pabaon when I retire. Tens, maybe hundreds of former students may have the opportunity to work abroad, and give me gratitude for helping them achieve it; one of them could even become the future president of the Philippines.
The best of it all, at the end of each day, I know I can sleep soundly, beside me is my wife who is also a teacher, with us are our son and daughter who we dearly love.
Teaching is indeed the noblest profession. And I am doing all my best to keep it that way…