Paying back to community: College prof teaches in senior high school

MANILA, Philippines – College workers are greatly affected by the controversial K to 12 program since enrollment in higher education institutions (HEIs) will drop starting this year because of the nationwide implementation of Grade 11.

One of the options for the potentially displaced teaching staff is to teach in senior high school instead. After all, the Department of Education (DepEd) will be needing 36,000 new senior high school teachers for school year 2016 to 2017.

Marilou Syjueco, a former assistant professor at the FEU Institute of Technology, was not displaced, but she decided to retire early and teach senior high school students instead.

"It's payback to the community as a resident of Malabon," said Syjueco, who will be teaching core language subjects in Grade 11 at Malabon National High School. (READ: Luistro on first day of Grade 11 rollout: 'Best class opening thus far')

A product of the public school system herself, Syjueco said she had long wanted to be part of the senior high school program, and since there will be fewer English subjects to teach in college this year, "I decided it's about time."

Although she hoped to get a Master Teacher IV item, she was told she will be a Master Teacher I instead. 

"When I looked at my credentials, and I compared it with the qualification standards of DepEd, supposed to be I'm [Master Teacher IV], but it's okay, because I'm willing to take the pay cut because I will only stay here for half [the] day, unlike in my previous school, whole day I would have to stay there. Here, it's just 6 hours a day, and it's just one short ride away from my house," she told Rappler in a mix of English and Filipino.

 

 

Jesus Mateo, DepEd assistant secretary for governance and operations, told Rappler that as of June 2, at least 1,251 college workers have been hired by the department in 3 regions where there is a concentration of HEIs:

Based on Commission on Higher Education estimates, about 13,634 teaching staff and 11,456 non-teaching staff may be displaced because of the effect of senior high school on higher education. 

Birth pains

But not all college teachers can afford a pay cut like Syjueco. She learned that a lot of college teachers backed out of teaching in senior high school because of the salary. 

"I hope DepEd is given budget [so] we can hire more college teachers. I just think senior high school should be handled by college teachers," she said on Monday, June 13.

Mateo said a big amount of the DepEd's 2016 budget has actually been allocated for the creation of 36,000 teacher items for senior high school.

"The salary ranges from a starting amount of P19,000 to P36,000. This is not a normal teacher item of Teacher I, or the starting salary grade. We created higher positions so we can hire qualified teachers," he earlier said in a mix of English and Filipino.

But even junior high school teachers are wary of teaching in senior high because of the lower pay, as in the case of some teachers at Commonwealth High School. (READ: INFOGRAPHIC: How much are public school teachers getting?)

"Others, hindi sila nag-apply [for SHS] kasi naguguluhan sila sa qualification standards dati. May mga Master Teacher na 'pag nag-senior high sila, parang bumababa 'yung [pay] nila," said Lorelina Morera, Commonwealth High School's focal person for senior high school.

(Others did not apply for senior high school because they were confused about the qualification standards before. There were those with Master Teacher item who could get a lower pay if they teach in senior high.)

Grade 11 students taking the academic track aon their first day of classes. #rappler #BackToSchool #BalikEskwela2016 pic.twitter.com/EwUcu2CNse — Jee Y. Geronimo (@jeegeronimo) June 13, 2016

 

Syjueco expects a bit of culture shock now that she will be teaching senior high school students at Malabon National High School. But she's excited, even urging fellow college professors to try going to the public school system.

"All the things that we are discussing in media as problems...I think they are mere birth pains and we have to be positive about it. I think you already know that we are the only Asian country that has not done K to 12, [and among] 3 in the world, and the other two are African countries," she added. Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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