June 7, 2008

Teacher sa Pinas Po Ako

Yesterday I checked the balance of my ATM account. I had exactly five thousand nine hundred sixty three pesos and sixty centavos. That was it. For a moment, I felt so tiny… almost as tiny as my bank account. Granted I have it better than many of our fellow citizens who are starving and barely making ends meet, I suddenly found myself contemplating my career choice.

I am a proud teacher.

Being able to teach children, both young and old, has been such a tremendous blessing to me. It has changed my life in so many ways. Sometimes though, I have to question the practicality of my choice when I am faced with my dwindling bank account. At the end of the day, however, no matter how much I wish I had a bigger paying job, I can't get myself to leaving the job I have grown to love.
I say ‘grown to love’ because I have to be honest --- teaching was not something I had imagined myself doing as a young child. Back then I envisioned myself as a successful doctor, or perhaps a businesswoman running a lucrative company. I can even remember that early on in my college days, I proudly raised my hand when my block was asked who were planning to shift courses. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself where I am today. Due to a series of, as I'd like to believe, fortunate accidents, I found my calling in life. It is the classroom. Whether it is singing and
dancing with my preschoolers or discussing life events with my college students, this is who I am meant to be. It’s as if by being inside those rooms, I find my way to my soul where I find purpose, pleasure and hope.

I have to admit every term I am faced with a bulk of students who make me feel like all my hard work and my pursuit of teaching a waste of time. While being in the classroom is my calling, sometimes it is not an easy task, especially when you have difficult students. Couple this with the knowledge that my sister, who manages a clothing store in the U.S. makes thrice what I make an hour, I begin to question the practicality of my calling. Perhaps even more so, the practicality of my decision to teach here in the Philippines.

My friends and I have had endless conversations about that, especially in the face of the economic woes, political hoopla, and depressing cost of living in our country today. Even our college dean asked me not so long ago when I was planning to follow my sister to the states. I jokingly responded, “hindi na sir, kailangan pa ng La Salle ng magaling na teacher diba”. While I said that in jest, I realized that deep down inside, it wasn't a joke. I do want to keep on teaching here and being part of the lives of tomorrows Filipino youth.

In one of my classes, we discuss career development and awareness. In these sessions, I see how much of our youth envision themselves as earning dollars in the future. What warms my heart, however, is hearing that small minority say they still want to do something for their country. That in itself fans that small flame of hope I hold near and dear to my heart that someday, somehow, our country will become a better place for us to live in, where we can afford to live a good life without needing to work abroad and earn that proverbial dollar.

Staying in the Philippines may not be the most sensible decision. In the same breath, teaching may not also be considered to be a practical career choice, especially in comparison to the range of available higher paying jobs out there. But I will stay. I will stay and draw inspiration from what my very good friend Che simply said once in reference to her decision to become a doctor to the barrio --- why not? So as a new school year starts I say with the same conviction WHY NOT?

Now if only my bank account can say the same thing when I ask for more money :-)

2 stars twinkling:

juls 6/08/2008 02:18:00 PM  

hi there t.ria!as i read your blog entry...i had blast from the past experience hehe! back in highschool, i told myself and my peers that i would be anything kahit ano..wag lang teacher!!! and i ended up teaching bwehehe! but like you..i find it a blessing as well =)working with kids is therapeutic for me because they make me smile most of the time. Now that K.T. is out of the picture...i always look forward to work especially im with you! dna kme tense ni ate inds haha! a lot of my relatives and friends also suggest why not try working abroad?but i don't see myself working there..i love serving here. At times, i can't help to feel "sorry for myself" esp. when im dinner with friends who earns twice or even thrice as i am. But when we talk and they start to tell how their work "sucks" because of bitchy colleagues, demanding boss and toxic tasks they need to accomplish.They end up planning to resign inspite of their big salaries. I can't help but to feel "sorry" for them, having co-workers from hell and i feel contented 'coz I am not in their situation..true, i only have one-fourth of their monthly incomes, but i have peace and joy @ work and for me, no amount of money can ever compensate that =)see you around teach! --its meeh...Julie =)(i use blogspot ng barkada ko hehe!)

frankie,  10/08/2008 05:44:00 PM  

wala pong anu man... ako po ay humahanga sa mga gurong kagaya ninyo, hindi tumatalikod sa kanilang mga tungkulin, salamat di po sa pagcomments, mabuhay po kayo.

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