Gypsy A. Fernandez
Master Teacher I of Julian V. Antonio Elementary School

In the noble pursuit of education, teachers relentlessly engage in the meticulous assessment of papers, computation of grades, preparation of reports, and the diligent creation of assignments. Functioning as surrogate parents within the school, teachers embark on a journey of awakening closed minds to the wonders of new knowledge. They stand as the guiding force behind every lesson, occasionally causing headaches, particularly when students stray from absorbing the valuable insights presented. This encapsulates the daily life of a teacher—a role that extends far beyond the confines of traditional work hours.

The call to duty knows no weekends, and the commitment to leave personal matters at home is unwavering. Snacking and eating become activities relegated to the back burner, resulting in compromised immune systems and, in some instances, serious health issues. Despite feeling unwell, teachers muster the strength to fulfill their responsibilities, prioritizing the imparting of knowledge over personal well-being. Personal needs are often overlooked, and even when the school day concludes, teachers bear the weight of substantial bags containing diverse papers to be attended to at home if time permits. The modest monthly salary compels many teachers to seek additional financial support through loans from various avenues, including GSIS, Pag-IBIG, MTMAS, and private lending companies.

These sentiments are expressed not in complaint but in an effort to shed light on the intricate world teachers navigate daily—a world often misunderstood by society until revealed through the lens of those who dwell within it. Teachers are the conduits of wisdom to new generations, entrusted with the responsibility of perpetuating the flow of knowledge. Perhaps now is the time to advocate for our own well-being, as our adversaries are not society or the government but rather the misperceptions surrounding our sworn duty. Our formidable foe lies in the incorrect perceptions people hold regarding our noble profession. It is imperative that we articulate the reality of our world to the broader society, for change rests within our grasp—the change we desire and have long yearned for. As educators, we must strive to reshape perceptions and foster a profound understanding of the challenges and sacrifices woven into the fabric of our chosen path.