Remember your high school teachers? Oh, those curious creatures. They were either the reason for the smiles on students’ faces or the bane of their existence. They either made your school life easier or made it a living hell.
We love our teachers. No, no, don’t try to argue with me. Trust me, you love your teacher. You just can’t admit it.
Yes, you love your teachers. Well, you either loved them or hated them, but the more you hate, the more you love, and the more you love, the more you love, so either way, you love your teacher.
She arrived in school before anyone else. You’d come to school at four in the morning and she’d be there, fully-clothed and bathed and all, wearing a smile that runs from ear to ear. Like, does she have a secret underground house within the school premises or something?
On the other hand, she also made your life easier by arriving late, often times when you had some undone homework or projects you had to pass. Whether the tardiness was unintentional or not, you were never sure, but it was welcome anyway.
She could be the strictest person on the planet. You took super-duper extra care on your test paper to make sure that not a speck of eraser dust could be seen, and not an unnecessary marking. Discovery of such atrocities meant a -10 on your recitation or whatever.
But then she could also be as forgiving as a saint. You could spray-paint the words “[Insert teacher’s name] is a [insert vulgar adjective]” across your school’s facade and she’d understand. She’d tell your class to submit your project by next week when the original deadline she set was, oh, two months ago? She’d give you a 100% mark on your English quiz although she had set a firm “Wrong Spelling, Wrong” rule and you broke that rule in every conceivable way.
Teaching is one of the lowest-paid professions in the Philippines (and even overseas), a true understatement of the importance of educators. Without them, we wouldn’t have doctors who charge you an arm and a leg just for consultation, lawyers who can make any illegal deeds legal in a snap, and politicians who plunder our coffers in front of our very eyes. Without them, we wouldn’t have graduated from high school even if we lacked six or seven requirements for graduation. Without them, that 75% grade wouldn’t have magically transformed into a respectable-ish 83%. Without them, you wouldn’t have fulfilled your hopes and dreams. (Trust me, if you haven’t fulfilled your hopes and dreams, it sure as hell isn’t their fault.)
As students, we endlessly made fun of our teachers and backstabbed them. We poked fun at their every little, infinitesimal, and trivial imperfection. Every word they uttered elicited a groan from us. The feeling was mutual, though. Or so it seemed. The first thing some teachers would say to us was, “Susginuo! Kini napud nga mga bataa!” (Filipino: “Diyuskupo, kayo na naman!” English: “Dear God, it’s you guys again.“) Teachers anticipated the end of school year because it meant parting ways with the rascals they taught everyday.
You may not know it, but your teachers love you. Yes, yes they do. In the same way that you love them. Yes, yes you do. Think about it: as college students, your teachers could have chosen another course, another career to pursue. There isn’t any money in teaching. There are but a few benefits. But they chose to teach, anyway. Never mind that it would mean frequent increase in blood pressure, never mind that it would probably shorten their lives, never mind that it would turn their hair gray sooner. They toil and toil for you. Don’t you know how easy it could be for a teacher to just not hold classes? To just resign and resort to selling peanuts and whatnot? That would be easier than teaching, mind you. But they teach anyway, despite the many alternatives they could’ve chosen. To quote the Naked Brothers Band, if that’s not love, then what is?
Aristotle paid extraordinary homage to teachers when he said, “Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.” To give teachers more honor than our own parents? Wow. It just goes to show how heroic our educators are—today’s unsung heroes, they’re called. For how can anyone argue without difficulty with Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers of all time, a student of Plato and a teacher himself of Alexander the Great?
And above all, who can shamelessly dismiss the heroism and courage of our teachers—great educators, the people who mold our society and forever leave an indelible influence on our lives?
In case you’re wondering, I’m not amnesic. I know it’s not teachers day. (Actually, I don’t know when teachers day is.) We should give respect to our educators not only on one occasion. Because they deserve all the respect in the world.
Mabuhay ang mga guro.
*you will notice that when referring to teachers, I used the female pronoun. I did so for the sake of brevity and not because I’m sexist or anything like that, okay? No lawsuits.