Monday, November 15, 2004

Teaching - does it pay well?

I had always been told that teaching is a vocation. As such, it is very much likely that one cannot get rich in this profession. That makes the teaching profession above the normal run of the mill jobs there are. But then, what career is not a vocation? Being a doctor is a vocation. It is service-oriented. It should be. A lot of people depend on a doctor for survival. If there's a doctor who is dedicated and passionate, it would be my friend, Doc Emer. For one, he patiently answers questions from readers and tries to explain every single thing there is to know in relation to that question. Now, you don't see too many doctors like that, do you? Chances are, you'll get a "see me in my clinic" type of a response. What about being a lawyer? That is a career and at the same time should be a vocation, too. If a lawyer's only goal was to get money from you, you'll never see him/her in court arguing passionately in your behalf. Afterall, you have already paid an acceptance fee, an appearance fee, etc. But this is not the case. In a lawyer's mind, winning is the game.

The point is, a real pro should see his/her career as a vocation. It is only in this way that one can be assured that one will be good at what one does.

Going back to teaching, when a teacher is asked to perform a job other than teaching, like designing a stage, chances are he/she will not be paid. (I am) It is part of the commitment. What a.... Why do I get a feeling that this is a very good way to usurp power and extort somebody's talents? Isn't this intimidation of the first kind?

I have been an idealist for half of my life but when I started to have kids and had to earn a living to feed a family, the world revealed a different face to me. It is not as beautiful as my heroes presented it. It is lots of hardwork. There are humongous bills to pay. This led me to believe that being committed is not what employers (not mine, mind you) profess all the time.

Being committed is working your ass off and being good at what you do. That your students learn everything they can get out of your system. Never mind not being paid for overtime work. They can't quantify the amount of work you've rendered for the students at home preparing lesson plans, checking of test papers, room displays and all that anyway. Now that is part of teaching. But when you're asked to do something outside of your job, I believe one should be paid accordingly. Even a paltry sum. At least, you're paid for your efforts, right?
Then you don't have to sell longganisa or bags and shoes on the sides.

Going back to the issue of having a vocation. Priesthood is a vocation, and so is being a nun. Do they get rich? Maybe no. At least not individually. But they do--as a community. See those schools they run? They own it. Allow me to air out what thousands of teachers have on their minds. "I have no pretensions of getting rich with what little knowledge I have, but please, provide me with sufficient funds so that i can live decently."


bayibhyap said...

I believe teaching is more than just a vocation. It is a calling.

It is obvious in many countries that teaching as a career does not pay well. In fact teaching is often described as a job that does not fill up the teacher's tummy but neither does it make the teacher go hungry. It does not make the teacher rich. Neither does a teacher fall into the poor category.

While the teacher does not make it rich, the enrichment comes in the gratitude of the students when they tell you about it. We also feel gratified when we see our students succeed in their chosen careers and their achievements and contributions are noted.

Idealist make good teachers if they are able to tamper their idealism with some reality and pace with each student's ability.

A teacher's responsibility is indeed great and heavy. Hundreds of students pass through his hands each year and how he moulds each mind is critical. If it is just money he is looking for, then teaching is not the station in life for him.

Once a teacher, always a teacher. When I opt for early retirement, I will want to return to this calling that has taken up the first half of my working life. I believe you're doing a fantastic job, rolly. Keep it up.

rolly said...

Bayi i have long surrendered my any hope of getting rich. HAHAHA Yes, everything you said is true. But once in a while, I feel that teachers are getting a rotten deal by intimidating them... that getting paid for what they do extra is a sin simply because they are in a vocation.. a calling , as you aptly put it. But then, they too have families. They too have mouths to feed, including themselves.

How I wish I had your confidence that I was doing a good job. Not yet. i probably will when I'm near retirement as teaching entails a lot of studying and learning. I've got all the time in the world for that. :-)

Thanks for dropping by.

Pepe said...

I have this notion that teaching is a noble profession and I dreamed of being one. However, my very humble beginning guided me to a more "lucrative" career. I do however believe that all professions are important and necessary to make this world go round. Maybe, and I'm hoping, that once I put all my responsibilities in right perspective and have sufficient savings that is self-sustaining, I can be one. I'm just wondering if the profession will take me in by time I'm 45 or 50. With my engineering exposure and life experiences, I'm sure I have something to share.

You're living my dream Tito Rolly. It's always greener on the other side.

Sassy Lawyer said...

Any profession can be a calling, a vocation OR a profit-oriented business. Depends on the person.

I know there are many committed teachers. But I also know some who "oblige" their grade school pupils to but the "yema" balls they made for a few extra pesos.

Many doctors are in it for the money. But there are some who will sacrifice time and personal comfort, go to remote barrios and work there where they are really needed.

I know a lot of assholic and corrupt lawyers. And i mean A LOT! But I also know a few who have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of their ideals.

What really ought to be a vocation--or a calling--and not a profession is politics. Kaya lang...

rolly said...

Pepe So nice of you to be thinking of teaching one of these days. You will certainly be good in college. Probably in an engineering course. I hear they make good money there, too. ;-)

Yes, the grass is always greener outside the fence.

Sassy Amen. Yes, any profession can be a calling. And yes, there are lawyers and doctors who are in it just for the money. Maybe teachers, too. But that would be catastrophic. Do you remember the kwarta o kwatro? Or worse, that Philosophy teacher in UP who was well known for his kwarto o kwatro? These people make the teaching profession look bad.

Politics? A calling? Of course it should be but at the rate we are going? Who will believe there is such a thing?

bayibhyap said...

What Sassy says holds a lot of truth. I know about teachers who deliberately teach slowly and then offer extra tuition classes after school hours, all for a fee of course.

Then there are teachers who park themselves into a teaching job, hoping to use this as a stepping stone for something better later on. When this doesn't happen, they are stuck in a job for which they have no love. Ah...suffer the poor students.

Committed and dedicated teachers are a rarity. I am almost afraid to say that they are a dying breed. The government pays little attention to their needs and the changing values of society accord little respect for them. They are an undervalued group.

BatJay said...

feel ko sa entry na ito na medyo torn ang feelings mo sa iyong profession. you love your profession with a passion but you feel you are not getting enough compensation. ang hirap lagyan ng perspective ng teaching as a profession ano, lalo na't pag pinoproblema mo ang hinaharap ng pamilya mo.

nung 1989, nag offer sa akin ang aking high school to teach. i took the offer but chickened out at the last minute nilapitan ako ng isang old teacher nang malamang niyang nag apply ako at sinabi niya sa akin not to get into teaching - the pay daw isn't good at sayang daw yung engineering degree ko. looking back, siguro i have reason to be relieved that i didn't get into teaching.

but there are times when i think: ano kaya kung tinuloy ko yung job offer na magturo? it would have been a dream come true. marami akong mga idol na teachers. mga taong tiningala ko simula ng ako'y bata. ngayon nagkikita ulit kami ng mga teachers ko sa mga reunion - 20 years after leaving school. pinapasalamatan ko sila personally. ang bukang bibig ko ay - "salamat for making me what i am". nakikita ko sa mga mata nila ang ibang klaseng tuwa. yon ang gusto ko, kaya panaginip kong maging teacher. gusto kong sabihan ako na "salamat for making me what i am".

wala ngang pera siguro sa pagtuturo at maraming mga teacher ang mamamatay ng mahirap. pero kung may point system sa langit, kayo siguro ang highest pointer at kung ako ang diyos, gagawin ko kayong mga anghel.

BatJay said...

naisip ko rin after commenting: kahit anong papuri ang ibigay sa inyo, it will not bring food to the table. it's the here and now that counts, and we'll deal with the afterlife (if there is one) when the time comes.

kaya tito rolly, mag painting na tayo ulit para may extra income.

ting-aling said...

If I had the calling, I would have chosen teaching as a career. Patience to a slow learner is not my virtue and unfortunately that's where your talent as a good teacher manifests. The slow learners need you more than the intelligent students. It is the intelligent students who give you fulfillment I right?

Matapoor said...

dream job ko maging kindergarden teacher.

rolly said...

Bayi Yes, there are teachers who do that. That's why as a precautionary measure, in my school, teachers cannot tutor their own students. That is when we still had private tutoring. It was scrapped this year. Instead, we offer free remedial lessons. it wouldn't it be a disgrace if a teacher is complained of failing students just so they can tutor and earn extra cash? Eww, the thought just makes me sick.

Batjay hindi naman, bosing. i love my work and I'm enjoying every minute of it. What I have in mind are the thousands of teachers, especially in public schools who are underpaid and yet, are asked a ton of things to do without compensation simply because its the nature of their job although sometimes you know it isn't already.

I don't want to get that rich! I wouldn't enjoy a big house where I couldn't even see my children inside their comfortable rooms until there comes a time when I don't even know if they're in there or not. I love simple living.

tingaling uy, it's been quite a while since I saw you last in here. Would you believe me if I told you that I shy away from teaching my kids at home. Ang bilis uminit ng ulo ko kasi. Nawawala ang patience ko pag sila na. PArang I can't take it that they cannot understand a word i'm saying. Kaya ayun, nag-aaway lang kami. Nanay na lang nila magturo. Sila na lang ang mag-away away. hahaha

Yes and no to your last comment. Sure we find fulfillment when the bright ones succeed but it's the poor students that gives us more gratification when they do. The bright kids actually don't need much of a teacher. What they do need is someone to guide them and they can be left on their own. The poor students are the biggest challenge of them all. Winning them to your side is a big accomplishment.

Matapoor Yan ang hinding-hindi ko susubukin. Nakapagturo ako as young as Grade 1 and I tell you, naubos lahat ng tricks ko inside my bag in a matter of seconds. Ang hirap talaga...I salute these teachers and admire them for their dedication. it's not too late, why don't you apply there? Being a mom, I know you've got the experience.

ting-aling said...

Tito Rolly, di mo ako nakitang **nagtwi-twiddling thumbs**?? Guilty ako pagdating sa pagiging makabayan kaya di ako makabanat. Ilang beses ko ding ipinagtanggol ang aking sarili na di ko inabandon ang aking inang bayan..tapos medyo nag-enjoy ka yatang nanood na tumaas ang hits mo sa Ayn Rand..unfortunately, di ulit ako maka-comment..hanggang Jeffrey Archer lang ang kayang intindihin ng aking utak..hehe..

Oo nga, di ko maturuan ang aking mga anak, yung bunso lalo na kasi ang tingin ko bobo siya pag di niya ako naiintindihan. Pero pagdating sa seniors, ay enjoy ako pag nakukuha nila ang itinuturo ko-kasama ng trabaho ko ang pag-train ng tao from all walks of life.

BongK said...

Teaching is the noblest profession, teachers occupy a very special position in our society. They train, they nurture, they inspire. It is their task to arm us with the fundamental knowledge needed to survive the everyday life. They come in all shapes and guises: friends, professors, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, strangers and acquiantances. We imitate them, we adore them, and sadly, sometimes we also disgrace and disrespect them. To teach someone is to take on a huge responsibility. Not only should teachers be thinking of the impact their teachings will have on their students, but more importantly, the impact it will have on the world at large. It is for this reason that I think it is no coincidence that our teachers try to instill in each one of us some kind of moral consciousness, a sense of goodness that gets woven in the fiber of our being.

My teacher friend onced told me "if the responsibility of teaching is hard, the actual practice of teaching is even harder" (tama ba ka rolly?).

stani said...

i plan to teach after college, but only so i can say i have a day job. i don't know if this is just inexperience talking, but to me, teaching seems like a job where you feel more than think. that way, i can concentrate my efforts on moonlighting, which translates to either writing, playing music professionally, or programming games. :D

Dr. Emer said...

Thanks for the kind words, Tito Rolly. I do only what's supposed to be done. Healing wouldn't be so exciting if patients do not know how to properly care for themselves, right? Besides, I am always for informed decision-making. I am also not alone in this matter. Most of my barkada-doctors (classmates) if you get a chance to meet them here and abroad, practice the same kind of approach to patients. We have always believed that an informed and health-conscious patient is always three steps ahead of getting better than others who are not. We always try to help...and money is not a pre-requisite when we do so.

If I had more time, I would like also to be a priest or a lawyer. I come from a family of priets and lawyers din kasi. And speaking of vocation, these are some of the first professions that come into your mind, when you talk about dedication, commitment, and "calling." But you and the others are correct, ANY profession CAN BE a vocation, it only depends on how much PASSION you put into it.

I have also a high respect to Teachers. I will not be what I am today were it not for the dedication of my former teachers. I am fortunate enough to be in touch with most of them --- elementary, high school, and from the State University --- and they continue to inspire me today to serve better than I have done before.

Thanks again for this wonderful post, Tito Rolly.

Cerridwen said...

The role of teaching is nothing if it is not occupied meaningfully by individuals and it goes for any profession in life. Being a teacher, a minister, a doctor, a nurse, would not be vocational if the individual kept the practice at arm’s length, divorced from his or her sense of identity, and treated it, in effect, as one among many indistinguishable occupations. In such a case, the person would be merely an occupant of a role. The sense of vocation finds its expression at the crossroads of public obligation and personal fulfillment. And I sense you get a lot of fulfillment and pride in what you to Tito Rolly, so does Doc.

Tanggero said...

Kakalungkot isipin na maraming guro na isinasantabi ang diploma at namamasukan na lang na katulong sa ibang bansa. At di rin natin masisisi ang iba na gumagawa ng ibang paraan para madagdagan ang kanilang kita kahit na ilang sentimo lang. Is it a violation of their code of ethics or just a reflection of the systems we have?
And to sum up the service they offered, teachers should be rewarded and compensated well than the dirty politicians we have.

goeman said...

Teaching - does it pay well?

everybody damn well know it doesn't. but i'd like to shout: WELL, IT SHOULD!

but it's not just a matter of giving teachers a good salary. what we need are good teachers, teachers who can teach, because not everybody can teach. i believe you can never really teach someone how to teach. sure, you know all the educational theories, all the cognitive and learning theories, but in the end, it's still your 'ability to teach' that will be a measure of how good and successful you are as a teacher. teach yourself, but more importantly, teach students to teach themselves.

on frustration: while gibbon (the rise and fall of the roman empire) did say that ``the power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous,'' we teachers should not lose hope and continue to perfect our craft. he who stops doing so might have just become an administrator.

on what to teach students: i think as teachers, we should not try to teach everything we know. theres only so much time that a student spends with teachers on a subject (a sem, trisem, quarter?) what should be instilled among students are the basics. as john gardner said:

"We don't even know what skills may be needed in the years ahead. That is why we must train our
young people in the fundamental fields of knowledge, and equip them to understand and cope with
change. That is why we must give them the critical qualities of mind and durable qualities of
character that will serve them in circumstances we cannot now even predict." John Gardner, Excellence

rolly said...

ting-aling Ganon yata talaga e no? Pag anak mo na tinuturuan mo, ang bilis makainit ng ulo. Kaya imbis na mabugbog ko lang ang anak ko, hindi ko na lang tinuturuan. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ako din naman, di masyadong tinuruan ng mga magulang ko e. hehe

BongK Tama ka naman tlaga. Mahirap maging tunay na guro. I try to be pero malayo pa. Marami pang insecurities.

Stani If you plan to moonlight while teaching, then hindi ka pwede sa high school alma mater mo. Bawal ang moonlighting e. hehehe But I would encourage you to teach. We need more good teachers than we can ever imagine. Kaya aral kang maigi and finish your course. Anyway, whatever you decide ou want to do, as long as it will be for the good, I will always support you. ;-)

Doc Emer I meant every word I said about your dedication as a doctor. And alang halong biro.

Cerridwen I experience pride with my work everytime a former student comes up to me and tells me "Sir, I couldn't forget what you taught me..." Somehow, i feel fulfilled. You can feel naman if it is heartfelt o bola lang, di ba? Twenty years of teaching and i had some of this winning moments. Kasi of the twenty years, believe it or not, half is just the learning experience and exposure. it's just now that I'm beginning to have a feel of what I can contribute to the students.

Tanggero this is precisely what the post is all about. Teachers, too, have to earn a living. We also have our own families who depend on us for sustenance. If only teachers are well-paid, we would attract the best and they would stay here for good. Simple equation but we always come up with wrong solutions.

Rache said...

tito rolly, i really admire you for following the calling/vocation of being a teacher even if it doesn't pay well. only few people can do that. a lot of people in this age go against what their heart tells them because of careerism.

ako, ayoko nga mag-dream na sobrang yumaman. basta fulfilling ang trabaho, masaya na ako. :)

more power tito!

Mec said...

siguro, one other thing...

may the students of today deserve the time and effort I give... by making better choices and leading happier lives than the ones who came before them

and yes, a simple THANK YOU does wonders too

- teacher

cathcath said...

titser ang mader ko titorolly.kaya gusto ko rin sanang maging titser. pero sa business ako napunta.pero dahil gusto ko nga yong mang-asar ng mga istudyent, nagturo rin ako. sa kolehiyo nga lang. pero feel ko na masarap.
kaya lang kahit sa university, hindi ka mabubuhay ng masagana kahit maglagari ka sa maraming unibersidad.
Ako magandang outlet sa akin lalo pag marami akong stress sa trabaho.

rolly said...

Renan Yes, learning all the theories of teaching is not the answer to be a good teacher. One must love the profession first. It is only through patience, dedication and genuine liking for the kids that will make a good teacher. Teaching the students teach themselves is the more important thing. That's why we're trying to learn how to develop our students' critical thinking skills. Been our aim for a long time now.

Thanks for the Gardner quote. Amen to that.

Rache Thanks. As i said, of the twenty years i have been teaching, the first half was spent on learning the trade, the other half in learning how to be better.

Mec So, you're a colleague! Taht's great. I wonder how many teachers are into blogging? Marami rin siguro. I know Sparks teaches, and now you. Cathy, for one time taught, too. hmm...

cathy Yes, i know you taught for a while. Sayang nga at hindi mo na itinuloy e. You must've been a good one. Enjoy sigurong mag-aral sa subject mo. Mahilig kang magpatawa e. HIndi boring ang class pag ganon.

aa said...

Can't help reacting because of two people who have great ly influenced me and my way of thinking, namely, an aunt, who is an English teacher for almost 25 years and a long-gone grandfather who told me he had wished to be a teacher before but became a cook to an American family.

From them, I'm very much aware of the difficulties and the challenges, especially my aunt, who I have assisted in my younger years. I assisted her checking the papers of her students, also I helped her type (using a typewriter) all the papers she was working on, reports, etc.

It's so true. Once a teacher, always a teacher for the students who have learned and grew up wiser would never forget that once in their lives, there was someone who guided them, and helped them shaped their minds, that then propelled them to what and who they are now.

metal said...

I believe teaching is not a profession, it is a passion...

some people say: if you want to get rich...take up medicine or law...engineers, generally are low earners, so much more with teachers whom i think are one of the most noble people around.

my first time to visit your site and i must say the thoughts here are rich, very inspiring...ey bro, i think i come here as often as i could. i'll link you up, ok please?!

Anonymous said...

So true, teachers in general should definitely get paid more, especially those who teach at public schools. Although there are private schools pay thier teachers pretty well. I guess Zobel is one of those schools since many of my teachers do live decently. None the less I think it is because of the low income of teachers that the quality of philippine highschool graduates. You might be thinking how in the world is it because of their teachers' salary? I was just thinking that maybe it isn't just the students maybe its also the quality of teachers. Think about it, if the salary were so low even if one was thinking of pursuing at teaching career if one were to be practical it would most likely not look like a very good choice. Hmmmm . . . I wonder if I have what it takes to be a teacher? Maybe not. I don't think I'll be nearly as good a teacher as you are. hehehe :))

rolly said...

::aa Everytime I hear of someone whose life had been inspired by a teacher, I wonder if I can have that effect on someone, too. Kasi kung hindi naman, sayang lang hirap ko no? Ang sarap ng feeling siguro if I hear someone say, sir, I am what i am today because of you...

kaya lang sana good yung influence ano? E kung sinasabi nya yun habang nasa loob ng kulungan? Ngek!!

Thanks for dropping by.

metal hmm, mukhang head banger tayo a :-) Yes, teaching should be a passion.

I was thinking about what you commented. Hmm, even if i was a lawyer, an engineer, or a doctor, malaki lang ang chances na maging mayaman but I don't think it's an assurance, too. Like there are lawyers who do not have any cases or doctors who do not have much patients.... wala rin.

Sure, you can link me up. I'll link you, too. That would be great! i'm glad you liked what you read so far.

Samantha Of course teaching is not the better choice of teen agers. Why do you think teachers are going abroad to be domestic helpers? Kunsabagay, doctors are studying to be nurses so that they can work abroad. Talagang mahirap na buhay ngayon.

of course you can be a better teacher than i am.

Mec said...

Last night, I told my students how much (little) a college professor actually gets... in a government institution such as theirs...

They were definitely appalled...

Even my colleagues are...

But my boyfriend tells me he's kinda jealous and envious of the glow he sees in me after every class... of the twinkle in my eye as I relate my stories for the day... and as I complain about my feet hurting, or the chalk (nde pa sila whiteboard eh) irritating me...

So I guess, teaching's greatest reward is not what you get for it, and maybe not even what your students get from you, but the fact that you are able to give of yourself... :)

rolly said...

Mec Where do you teach? UP? What subject do you teach? Bigla akong naging curious.

If you have a satisfied look after each class, magaling kang magturo. Usually, pag hindi, siyempre, masama ang mukha ng teacher kasi magulo estudyante. Ibig sabihin, bored sila sa pagtuturo ng teacher. I' glad you're not one of those boring teachers. :-)

Svelte Rogue said...

tito rolly, meron akong naging idol na guro na retirado na. pero buenas ako at naabutan ko siya bago siya nawala. sabi niya sa amin dati, "as a teacher, we will live with only one satisfaction: to live a life of genteel poverty." kasi daw no matter what they say about it being a lowly-paid profession, there is a gentility in the craft, and love of it is the only reason to stay with it.

i don't glow like mec (in the dark lang mwahaha) but my heart skips a beat when i teach. i don't think i'm still the teacher i want to be; all i know is that i'll be a teacher for life. my burning dream now is to study hard in the field of my dreams and go back to the philippines with the intention of teaching my dream subject until i die.

mabuhay ka, guro. ilaw ka ng ating mundo.

Anonymous said...

obviously its not .. but i wish pag teacher na q lumaki na ang sahod ng mga teacher .. hehee

rolly said...

anonymous Lately, nagiging competitive na rin ang sahod ng teacher. At least sa private school. Marami na rin akong dating estudyante sa elementary at high school na naging co-teacher at kabarkada ko pa ngayon. The point is, if you're called to become one, you will be one.

Sana nagpakilala ka by signing your name para nagkakilala rin tayo. hehe