Filipino Teachers: Their Struggles and Hope

In the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., he stated the accomplishments and government plans in the field of education. Teachers, especially, waited to hear what the president had to say. Here's a summary published by Philippine Star:

  • Nine in ten newly created teaching positions have been filled and more administrative personnel have been hired.
  • Adopt blended learning permanently.
  • Build more classrooms and facilities, including climate-ready schools.
  • Recalibrate the K - 10 curriculum to strengthen literacy and numeracy skills.
  • More higher educational institutions have been included in the World University Rankings in 2023.
  • Nearly 50% of the 4.1 million enrolled college students benefit from the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education program for free tuition.
  • Science and technology-related scholarships are made available from high school all the way to graduate school

With this information, advocates for education hope for a more concrete and comprehensive plan that will bring change in the coming years, especially in improving the lives and teaching conditions of Filipino educators.

The question is: How can our teachers provide quality education for students in the midst of  facing overwhelming challenges in their profession?

According to this article, the five common challenges our teachers are currently facing are the following:

Inadequate compensation - Their very low salaries do not really compensate for the important role they play in society. In some cases, it’s not even enough to meet their needs. This directly affects their dedication to their job, and also  leads them to seek better opportunities abroad.

Heavy workload - Our teachers are also assigned to do administrative tasks, lesson planning, checking assignments and conducting extra-curricular activities. These responsibilities weigh heavy on their shoulders and take up most of their time, even on weekends. This affects the quality of education they provide and result  in burnout and other health conditions.

Limited resources and facilities - Some of the many problems in the public school system include insufficient textbooks, outdated teaching materials, and limited access to technology. There is also overcrowding in classrooms, making the environment less conducive for learning. Teachers need to be resourceful and make do with what is available, sometimes spending their own money to provide for their student’s needs. 

Classroom management and discipline - Because each class consists of a lot of students, the teachers deal with varying levels of student behavior all at once.There are instances where they lack the support of schools and parents to reinforce discipline and manage the behaviors of the kids.

Professional development and support - Upskilling and reskilling are necessary for all teachers. They need to keep up with  the current trends in education to improve their skills. However, many of them find it hard to access quality training programs and development opportunities.

While many of our teachers are fueled by their passion to educate young minds, they can only do so much with very limited resources, support, and means of living, This would lead many in the teaching profession to seek greener pastures by teaching abroad or even shifting careers altogether. Let’s continue to hope that time will come when our government prioritizes the welfare of Filipino educators and  to witness a thriving education system where they are given the best treatment they ever deserve.

By Ma. Teresa C. Guballa

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