WATCH: Why do teachers teach?

MANILA, Philippines – In a day's work, teachers often find themselves wearing many hats: subject teacher, class adviser, mentor, confidant, second parent, program facilitator, and club head, to name a few.

Rappler speaks with teachers, who open up about the difficulties of working in a system with heavy demands but only a few people to answer to them.

They speak of the challenges they face, juggling work in school and their life outside, where they can care for themselves and their families.

But more than that, teachers tell us why they have chosen to continue teaching despite the difficulties of the job. 

"I want everyone to know that teaching is not easy. But if you're in the field of teaching, there's that consolation that you are the reason they can read and write," Lani Lastimoso, a public school teacher at Bacao Elementary School in General Trias, Cavite, says in Filipino.

"All the professionals will not be here, not the doctors, not the architects. All the excellence in the other fields won't be there without the teachers," she adds.

Data from the Department of Education show that, as of school year 2017-2018, there were about 755,000 teachers in basic education.

Yet regardless if teachers are new to the job or decades into it, it's the same for most of them: they set face challenges for the sake of the children.

"It does enter my mind to change careers or to work abroad, especially now, when life is so hard. But, beyond that, the children are all that matters," says Inee Martinez, a public school teacher at San Roque Elementary School in Marikina City.

"At the end of the day, you see the kids not as mere students in the classroom. I am also their parent...and there will be many generations to come," she says.

Teaching may be a thankless job on most days, but at least on World Teacher's Day, let's make these heroes feel how grateful we are to them. –

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at