Picture this. Last September, 230,000 teachers-to-be took their “entrance exams,” in a manner of speaking. Any day now, if it hasn’t happened already, the names of the successful examinees will be announced.
The batch of 2019 is the biggest yet, according to a source in the Professional Regulations Commission, as they include applicants for K-12 teaching positions in public schools. Conducted in 28 regional centers plus Bangkok, Hong Kong, and countries in the Middle East, the tests consisted of multiple choices, or four choices per question and only one correct answer. For the sake of passing as many candidates as possible – a similar practice with the bar exams for lawyers – questions requiring answers in essay form are no longer in fashion. Easy for the candidates, easy for the computers checking the test papers, and still, the usual passing rate is a dismal 20 to 30 percent.
Teaching is a tough job but teachers take comfort in the saying that it takes a teacher to teach all the other professions. The lucky ones are students who found a teacher they enjoyed listening to, chatting with, learning from.
Everyone has had a favorite teacher, or one they loved and idolized, or one whom they despised for wasting their time and not allowing them to bloom.
One of the most meaningful Christmas parties of the season was held by alumni of the Philippine Cultural College, formerly Philippine Cultural High School, who honored their teachers by putting them at the center of the singing, feasting, and merry-making. Mariano Yupitun, a devout Buddhist, and his PCHS schoolmates and colleagues distributed “ang pao” to teachers in their senior years. Enrique Lim, the oldest alumnus at age 96 – he’s as old as his alma mater – gave away expensive meds for diabetics. For me, it was awesome to meet so many math teachers who reminded me of my father, a wizard with numbers.
Speaking of teachers, Maurice Lim, a retired banker who has been teaching economics and finance in Ateneo de Manila since 1979, is qualified to be described as having produced “more students than Confucius,” roughly 8,000 over the last 40 years, with more to come. Are you trying to beat Onofre (Pagsi) Pagsanghan’s record, Professor Lim?