Elementary Education in the Philippines
The last week of July and the first two weeks of August this year were spent by this hubber. travel_man1971, helping his cousin, who happened to be a principal at the elementary school of the neighboring barrio, prepare for the school evaluation.
The evaluation covered the nooks and crannies of the school and the requirements for the teaching staff. Starting from the pre-school, primary and intermediate levels, teachers and their relatives plus the cooperation of the parents made the school dubbed as the most organized elementary school in our town.
My cousin and her husband went to our home and requested me to help for some painting and lettering jobs.
My concentration centered on renewing and repainting the rank-and-file of the district's staff. It also included the painting of school name and number on the roof of one of the school building.
And the best of all, painting a mural on the wall of the school's office, replacing the one that was left by the past school head.
All the efforts that were given by the teachers, students and parents paid off. The district supervisor was impressed by the organized classroom, courteous students and brilliant teachers under the auspices of its principal.
Hobo Elementary School - Most Organized School in Minalabac, Camarines Sur, Philippines
The Rigors of being a Public School Elementary Teacher
From the stories and personal accounts that were shared by my cousin and some teachers as well, being an elementary teacher requires more than a 100% hardwork and dedication.
Whether they're married or single, being a teacher is usually carried at home because of the preparation of lesson plan, checking test papers and quizzes and the preparation for school activities, like contests and sport-fest.
By the way, females outnumbered males when it comes to teaching. At the school where my cousin is a principal, all of them are women.
After a four-year education in college, fresh graduates must take a licensure examination in order to apply for a ranking at the nearest division office of education department. Most of the times, some new teachers apply as a substitute, filling up the position temporarily when the regular teacher leaves for maternity period.
Now that the K12 program is implemented already starting this year 2011, the pre-school years (kindergarten) are already required to enter the primary level (as in Grade 1, 2 & 3).
Problems encountered by most of the teachers are the worn-out buildings and chairs ravaged by yearly bout from series of typhoons and flash floods.Aside from this, lack of sufficient books are also noted. More classrooms are needed due to the increase in enrollment every year. The ideal class should have at least 25 t0 35 students, whereas more than 50 students usually cram inside a small classroom.
Although, the party-list group for teachers (like the Alliance for Concerned Teachers of ACT), legislation for the improvement of the public elementary education are often bypassed due to other issues that plague the country. The annual budget is not sufficient to finance all the public schools in the country.
Some teachers are into multi-grade system due to lack of classrooms. From Grades 1 to 4, only two teachers or even one handle four levels of classes simultaneously. One of my cousins said that it confused him teaching Grade 1, then Grade 2,3 and 4 at the same time with just the help of his co-teacher.
Not of School, But of Life
I've noticed that the oldest school building I've seen was build by the USAFFE or the RP-US Alliance during the World War II. It is still existing. Then the Marcos-type building and recent donations by business tycoons and legislators (Congressmen and Senators).School alumni also participate for the improvement of their Alma Mater. Private group of citizen, mostly from other countries usually adopt a school in the country in order to provide buildings and worthwhile activities, much to the enjoyment of the students.
An appeal to the readers, whether they're working at the present administration or not, is to notice the situations of school buildings at the far-flung barangays. Even the roads at the communities situated at the mountains are not yet developed. Elementary school teachers often walk for miles just to reach their assigned place. Mountainous barangays abound in the Philippines where marginal living exist among households, that even their children seldom go to school because of making a living planting rice or root-crops.
A Noble Profession
Salaries of elementary teachers are still below salary standard. In the Third World, like the Asian region, it can be budgeted for the next 15 days but most of them resort to borrowing to fellow teachers to make things end meet. The reality of the teaching force in the country is worse than you can imagine. Government loans are one of their moves to be in a budget but their wages can't catch up squarely with the increasing prices of prime commodities, hospitalization bills and the basic needs at home.
Yet, Filipino elementary teachers are true to their chosen field. This is to teach young minds and hone them to be responsible individuals in the future.
Quotations to Ponder on regarding Teaching
Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~Author Unknown
Modern cynics and skeptics... see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing. ~John F. Kennedy
A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown
The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. ~Kahlil Gibran
Teaching should be full of ideas instead of stuffed with facts. ~Author Unknown
A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image. ~Author Unknown
Elementary Education in the Philippines c/o MrMusicman1971
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