May 22, 2024
reflections on teaching from a former teacher
Here are some reflections on teaching from a former teacher who taught in the heart of Manila! Also includes school operations as well!

Without further ado, here are the thoughts and reflections on teaching from a former teacher:

1. The challenges that teachers face are not the same. In fact, no two teachers face the same problem at any given time, even within the same department.

The public school teacher is different from the private school teacher when it comes to the things they have to deal with…and then there are exclusive and international (the accredited and reputable ones, ahem) schools who have worlds of their own. Still, everyone is affected by the sad status of Philippine education all the same – when your average IQ is 80+, your country is the lowest-scoring in international standardized exams, intelligence is considered to be shameful, appreciation of culture is nearly non-existent, no one likes smart (and correct) people, and nearly everyone experiences learning poverty and learning deprivation, you know that it just sucks.

2. 24 teaching hours with six to seven subjects to prepare would make anyone wish for a normal desk job, though I’m pretty sure that many of us have it worse. My experience in heaven was 18 hours of active teaching with six subjects plus 6 hours of library duty (that can be repurposed for other purposes as the librarian is always there), those were amazing times!

3. It’s a blessing to teach at a school that has nearly everything you need…well, maybe except if you’re teaching Music and the Arts/Computer. IYKYK. It’s also a HUGE blessing to teach at a school where everyone is supportive and appreciative.

4. I personally watch other schools, especially international schools, with a mix of envy and admiration (they do things that we could only dream of, most of the time). Still, I can proudly say that I did my best to wring out every single drop from the facilities and opportunities that were available to me and provide something memorable/innovative/useful/fruitful to the students. On a side note: More opportunities for professional development please!

5. The SUCK FACTOR in teaching is REAL. NO SHIT. However, when you see that your teaching efforts come through and witness your students transform into better versions of themselves!

6. If you are given a responsibility which allows you to change something, then ask them to give you latitude and agency too. And oh, funds are always nice. Take note that with more power comes more responsibility, accountability, and transparency – if you do well, take the credit, take a bow, and share it with the team, but if you screw up, be accountable. Sori ser, sorry madam!

7. Schools today should be agile, responsive, equitable, fair, and just. I’m pretty sure the MAEdDev people have better ways to explain this than I am, but seriously speaking, those might be the qualities that a school needs in order to get to the next level. Then maybe mix a little bit of heart, grit, and accountability there too.

8. The best time for me as a teacher is when I see that the students actually respond positively with zeal and 200% effort towards a program that has been planned (i.e., sports, campus journalism, creative writing, SDGs, arts, etc.) And let’s not lie to ourselves: It’s sweet when you get awards, and it’s sweeter when you bring the gold medal/medal sweep/trophy home!

9. Planning and theory (when it comes to school governance, development, operations, and student affairs) is not just half the battle, it’s 80 percent of the battle. You will not believe me unless you’ve been there, and those who are there (and who do the trailblazing stuff in their respective fields) even say that they plan for what they want to do one whole calendar year ahead. Also, the best way to build a school is to build its identity through providing a distinct culture (which brings us to activities, symbols, and memory all over again!)

10. As far as commitment to a life at school is concerned, everyone should follow the 8-4 schedule; that is, time in on time, and time out as soon as you can. It’s actually possible to finish the tasks of teaching within that time frame most of the time – and it’s more healthy than anyone thinks. However, there’s a twist to this: Teachers (and anyone who’s involved in special programs) should give time on Saturdays – even the whole day if needed – to be able to handle those programs in the best way possible. There’s even a joke that I’ve heard from other schools in which they say that “school life is 24/6.5” and that “life is a school operation”; to be fair, the people who say this operate some of the most elite schools in their respective countries (aka way beyond the curve), so make of that what you will.

There you have it! Thank you for reading! Leave your violent comments and reactions below if you want!


I have also written on why SIKAP doesn’t fix Philippine education – it seems that our education leaders have forgotten the necessity of having well-rounded citizens! If you liked the content, please follow the Facebook and YouTube handles here – stay safe and healthy!

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