Netizens: Support, don't stereotype teachers
MANILA, Philippines – No to stereotyping teachers.
Reacting to an iSpeak piece, "Teachers' big, bulky bags: secrets revealed," published on Sunday, December 21, about why teachers bring with them bulky bags, a number of readers said contributor Alberto Calibo paints a stereotypical portrait of a teacher, an image reminiscent of an “overworked yet underpaid” important fixture of society.
One of them, Melanie Dubiao, who teaches in a private school but has college classmates and former colleagues who teach in public schools, wrote, “We try to change the image of the kawawa naman teacher look by obviously making the teacher look fashionable. It is our responsibility to make the teaching profession stop looking like a no-option job because of how we paint ourselves.”
While teaching is a 24/7 job, she said “it does not mean that when one does not bring home a job, that teacher is irresponsible. Maybe that person knows how to manage his/her time and tries to avoid bringing home too much paper work.”
Calibo, a teacher himself, came up with a list of possible reasons why those who teach bring with them bulky bags as they move from home to workplace, or vice versa.
According to him, he became curious about the bulky bags while lining up to punch out and seeing a long queue of teachers each carrying colorful bags and being tagged as workaholics who are unfashionably dressed. A public school teacher of 4 years, Calibo wrote about what he found out after asking other teachers.
He generated a lot of negative reactions from various social media platforms.
On Facebook, John Grevialde wrote that the points Calibo raised were rude and “derogatory” toward “underpaid educators who are doing everything to do their jobs” amid a “lack of teaching materials and support from our government.”
Emily Duterte whose son is a teacher in a private university said that the article “insulted” her son’s profession.
“I often kid him about being overworked but underpaid,” she wrote. “But he is happy with what he is doing so I admire his dedication.”
So what can one find inside the big bulky bags of teachers? For Duterte’s son, it’s the papers of his students which reflect the hard work they put into studying.
“His bag is all important because it contains his, and his students' hard work,” Duterte said. “It only made me realize how important a teacher's work is.”
For teacher Mikel Bolalin, his bags are his “life” even if the piece Calibo wrote “made a joke” about teachers.
“Even we're already at home, we work and even on weekends and holidays, we work and those late nights just to finish reports and preparation, we work,” he wrote. “Oo, nakakapagod ang trabaho namin pero ang maisagot at mai-relate mo sa mga estudyante ang lesson mo sa mga tanong nila, iyon ang walang katumbas na pera o bagay na tinatawag na fulfilment.”
(Yes, our jobs are really tiring but nothing can ever come close to the fulfillment from knowing you were able to relate a lesson to your student’s questions. That’s something that wouldn’t have any equivalent in money or anything else.)
Support our teachers
At the end of the day, readers believe that it is important to appreciate and respect teachers as they hone young minds for the future.
They should be given enough support to prevent them from doing things that detract from being what a good teacher is and to somehow ease the burden on their shoulders. (READ: Why there’s an urgent need to raise teacher’s salary)
Sequena Sally recalled how her former teacher’s bag was full of food not to sell but to eat. She did this to save money from her meager allowance.
“Doon ako natuto maging matipid para matupad ang dream ko (I learned to be save from her so I can achieve my dream),” she wrote.
“I'm not a teacher but I'll be more than happy if teachers will receive a salary of P30,000 ($672)* a month,” Emelyn Villareal commented. “I truly believe they really deserve it.”
To date, a public school teacher’s monthly salary is estimated to be less than P20,000 ($448) or equivalent to Salary Grade 11.
Unfortunately, the Philippine government still has not given in to various calls for a salary hike. (READ: Malacañang noncommittal on pay hikes for teachers)
Amid the negative comments, Calibo said he did not intend to paint a stereotypical image of educators. "I want to say in that article that despite teachers carrying a lot of bags or burdens, they still do their jobs in the best way."
iSpeak is Rappler's space for readers to share their ideas and opinions. – Rappler.com