|Garrett with Teacher Jali, his 2nd grade class adviser.|
I have always wondered how much teachers earn, moreso after my first parent-teacher-child conference with Garrett's 2nd grade teacher. Sad that that teacher had to leave for graduate studies abroad. Garrett fell in love with that teacher. He would often mention her name at dinner or whenever I asked him about school. She was refreshing, a joy to talk to.
It was under her charge that Garrett started having problems dealing with teasing and bullying. I had to come see her one time because of one mishap done by a classmate on Garrett. I'll not go into details but there was enough reason for me to elevate the issue. The teacher ably handled the situation and kept her word that she would do what she could to ensure that Garrett would be placed in a different section from that child the following year.
One day, Garrett seemed to have his fill of the teasing and bullying, he suddenly became enraged and hit 4 of his classmates, just like that! The teacher wrote a one-page letter to me. And I was blown away!! Not only because of the sudden behavior Garrett had shown but by the perfect English and very good narration that the letter was written! Made me realize how bad my prose was.. :)
Back to how much teachers are paid, I think that they are not getting anything close to what call center agents get. But meeting some of my son's teachers has made me admire their lot. Noble, humbling and inspiring to say the least. It's like their advocacy for a better world, better future need not be preached because it shines through as they teach and share their youth, fresh ideas, and devotion and love to the children. There are those who have the calling, and when they embrace such calling, can really make a difference in the lives of our precious little ones. Next to parenting, I believe teaching is the next toughest job.
The importance of education can never be overemphasized. Pardon the cliché--it is the great equalizer. More than budget for education, technology, modules - K12 included -it is through the low-paid teachers that learning is imparted to young, hungry minds.
I deeply admire teachers who stay on the job, forgo other opportunities because their heart is in what they do, encouraging children to dream and helping them take little steps toward that dream. Such is Sabrina Ongkiko whose story got me to write this. And Teacher Jali who has touched Garrett's life, even for just a year, with her openness, uniqueness, intelligence and kindness. Here are the links to their stories. Hope they inspire you, too, or at least make you smile.