They say that sometimes words and names can harbor so many negative implications that just by hearing it already elicits negative prejudgment. I gagged in the thought that somehow “public school” where I graduated from, where I believe I owe the vision I hold so dearly, was no exception.
I am a teacher and I DO NOT teach in a “public school”.
I teach in a citizen-invested institution where the community brings in the best resources they could scurry beyond their lack to support the future generation. We often seek partners and thrive in generosity of others because we are designed to bring the country together.
I do not teach in a public school, with your anecdotes of abusive, incompetent, and nagging teachers.
I teach in a Philippine-funded organization with progressive educators who continually harness themselves to offer the better versions of themselves, even slashing their own paycheck to spend for class activities and learning materials to make up for the dilapidated books and facilities. Class time have become a showcase of innovation and resources.
Despite the indifference, violence, and fear outside our walls, it is when you step on the school grounds where child safety is the optimum priority. A month ago, an earthquake scare had everyone out of the campus. My co-teachers first remark in relief, “Di ko ma-imagine mangyayari sa mga bata.” It had always been the kids first. Lunch and snack time had always been shared with students who come to school with empty stomachs. “Isusubo mo na lang, ibibigay mo pa sa kanila”, has been an everyday mantra.
It pained when a former classmate remarked “Bakit ka nagtuturo sa public school, sayang ka.” It hurted more knowing that there are a lot more who thinks the same way. My nerves REFUSE TO ACCEPT THAT CHOOSING TO TEACH IN A DREAM CULTIVATION INSTITUTION, where part of every income taxes go, where coins from every vendors, jeepney drivers, and everyone who decently participate in the economy contribute to is like a lapse judgement, a mindless career choice for some. Hear the stories of our students on how at such a young age they harness resiliency, passion, and earnestness to be lifelong learners. I work side by side with teachers who give so much of their life, who despite the rapid changing times, regardless of their age finds time to learn the latest trends and technologies to upgrade themselves. They are battling personal issues daily, yet amidst worries, they stand confidently in front, sharing their knowledge.
Just maybe, “public school” as a term can redeem itself…
…because in “public schools” young leaders who have so much talent and heart chose to spend 2 years of their lives rolling up their sleeves to believe in the best of every child. It’s in public schools where we step on fertile grounds of aspirations that hopes to invite others to share their God-given talents to see the next Philippine’s best to happen sooner or later. Just this year, despite the uncertainties, our colleagues flew to Mindanao and Visayas beating the scare and rumors with excitement and inspiration to teach but more so to learn from their school community. It is in public schools where we pride ourselves with alumni who after being touched with the realities continue to cling to our country, offering opportunities and learnings whether we ask it or not.
So maybe, it’s just a matter of terminology or my misplaced sensitivity to slightly abhor the term “public school”.
If I may reframe, I teach in a national treasure – that is a public school.