The why of teaching

Published in Eastern Visayas Journal on October 28, 2021

World Teachers’ Day is celebrated annually on October 5th in more than 100 countries to pay tribute to educators and honor their influence on our lives. Teachers not only facilitate learning; they inspire, guide, and serve as role models for students.

How many of us dreamed of becoming teachers when we were children? Ramsell’s 2019 article detailed the Perkbox Insights survey of 1,567 British adults. The survey results showed that to be a teacher was the second most popular childhood dream job at 9 percent, just behind being a veterinarian at 10 percent. Only 4 percent of the respondents were successful in making their childhood dream jobs a reality with 64 percent of the adults wishing they are working in the jobs they wanted to do when they were children.

Dyrenne Trinidad Cojuangco is one of those lucky adults who pursued her childhood dream. Her parents were both educators and brought them to school since they had no yaya (caregiver) when they were young. “I witnessed how my mother taught reading, graduation songs, and dances,” she shared with me. “I was inspired by my parents.” She is now a public school teacher teaching first grade in Manila. She recognized her true calling early. “I love children and being in a classroom.”

Some adults did not dream about being educators when they were young. Bernabe Malang is an instructor with JE Mondejar Computer College. His path as an award-winning educator with multiple certifications as a national TESDA NC-II assessor began serendipitously. He realized he enjoyed talking, discussing topics, and guiding students when he became a part-time teacher. He went back to school to earn education credits and left his job as a DSWD financial analyst to become a full-time educator. “It is joy that cannot be measured. I found that teaching is my passion and happiness, and that’s why I decided to become a teacher for life,” he explained.

Mae Johanna Lumbre Macaso is a former beauty queen who was on a different career path. Her mother, a teacher, convinced her to switch careers. “Teaching gave me the economic stability so I can raise my two sons as a single parent.” She discovered an inner passion once she started teaching. “I can help my students by transferring my skills and sharing my talents,” she realized.

For Mhegz Jadulco Pagonasan, it boiled down to the love of helping others. “My teachers in high school like Rey Dacul, Nilda Baclayo, Adela Ferreras, Riza Rosa Adona, Mercedes Consus, Wilma Bacayo, and Concordio Bacayo all made a great impact in my life,” he revealed. “They inspired me to take education and pursue teaching as my profession. So then, I was eager to inspire students to be the best versions of themselves.”

There is nothing more fulfilling for teachers than to witness their students’ success. Mhegz recalled his experience with one student. “This was in 2013 when I was handling 4th year high school students. I had one student who was always absent, only to find out his parents were jailed. He had decided to work while studying to make ends meet.” Mhegz challenged that student and asked him to join his other class to complete his competencies.

That student wrote “I WILL STUDY HARDER” on the board. Through his guidance, the student graduated as the class valedictorian and placed 11th in the master electrician assessment. Every educator’s journey to the teaching profession is unique and personal. What is common is the lifelong impact each one makes on many students. Imagine the collective impact of educators not only on students’ lives but on any country and the future itself. Let us continue to honor our teachers every day.

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