As a disclaimer, I have to confess I don’t have sufficient facts to support my very opinionated post today. I am merely expressing my thoughts from several observation.
When I was in elementary, my public school teachers came and went with several unexplained exercises. We would stay in the room, do the exercise, receive our grades on time, usually with a shocked expression as to how our usually absent teachers were able to give us remarkably high grades.
I got into a private high school thinking it would be the same. Lo, and behold! There was never a day that I didn’t pray for my teachers’ absence. Why oh why did they have to be diligent? Was this why people say private schools offer a higher quality education than public ones?
College finally enlightened me regarding this matter: Public school teachers are paid even during their absence while private school teachers have to earn their salary through their attendance and evaluation.
As a college instructor myself in a private institution, I experienced receiving deductions for my tardiness, having my salary delayed for not finishing the requirements, and not having any compensation nor incentives for participating non-academic activities.
At first, I thought to myself it was a part of my job as long as I enjoyed doing it, the reward could come after. I thought I was not doing enough. I even admonished myself for my tardiness. There were also moments when I attributed my poor salary to my unfinished Masters.
However, frustration finally got the better of me. After working for two weeks, I received my pay with 60% deduction. Where did that huge amount of tax come from? I don’t know how you would feel if you were in my place but I felt all eagerness, motivation, whatnot, had been sapped out of me. I kept wondering what I was working for. In the first place, there were other schools out there! Why did I stay?
Because of service. Teaching is a profession of service. It needs heart and perseverance. As someone who is merely starting in the field, I want to have a huge impact to my students. I thought I had the heart even the perseverance.
I remembered my old teachers. They did not teach but they got paid. Why couldn’t I get what was rightfully mine?
Partly because of this and due to health concerns, I was not able to attend my classes. I just did not have the heart to bear with academic stress because it was too much. Receiving a lower salary from one’s full time job than his part time is ironic, and this happened to me twice. Could you blame me? Of course, I remembered my accountability to the students but I also recalled I had to live. It came to me that all along I had been working for charity.
Kudos to those teachers who have the willingness to teach out of the generosity of their hearts, who are not expecting any monetary value in return. They can do what I never can.