I would wager that not too many of us are aware that we are in the final stretch of National Teachers' Month, which runs from September 5 to October 5. Presidential Proclamation No. 242 has declared this one-month period as such while Republic Act NO. 10743 declared the fifth day of October every year as the National Teachers' Day. Globally, October 5 is also celebrated as World Teachers' Day as declared by no less than the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
It was in 2011 that the National Teachers' Month was first observed in the Philippines, and I am glad that the heroism of our low-paid teachers, our second parents in more ways than one, has finally been recognized and given tribute. Various foundations have chosen to focus on other advocacies, but Metrobank Foundation focused on the teacher. They spearheaded this move with their "My Teacher, My Hero" campaign. Their logo featuring a student and teacher reading together to form a heart against the golden yellow background which has become the face of the foundation's advocacy campaign, is now very recognizable and has created a growing awareness here. But as early as 2008, Bro. Armin Luistro, then president of De La Salle University, got together with Metrobank Foundation Inc. president Aniceto Sobrepena spearhead the Teachers' Month Campaign.
They found an ally in President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III when P-Noy issued the presidential proclamation to observe the prescribed one month period as National Teachers' Month. Perhaps the President had good memories of his early years with his teachers, as many of us had. I have too many "favorites" among them to mention here, but suffice it to say that, thankfully, I had no traumatic experiences that could inflict scars on my emotional health. I'm glad that my own children also have a healthy respect for their own teachers, which speaks well of their early experiences. From grade school all the way to young adulthood, learning for me was pleasant and challenging, with a few minor skirmishes here and there as can be expected. My college years were no less pleasant, with some of my professors encouraging and mentoring me in performing arts as I tried my hand in theatre at my alma mater, University of Sto. Tomas.
The re-launching of the Teachers' Month Campaign after the initial efforts of De la Salle's Bro. Luistro and Metrobank Foundation's Aniceto Sobrepena resulted in the forming of a National Teachers' Month (NTM) Coordinating Council. Many sectors have joined in the advocacy of recognizing the efforts and appreciating the impact of teachers on the communities. The NTM Coordinating Council, composed of various government agencies, educational institutions, private companies and non-government organizations, worked hard towards engaging the public in appreciating the contributions of Filipino teachers in molding the Filipino youth. They had a common goal of validating the nobility of the teaching profession, no matter how lowly it pays. For many families, allowing one's son or daughter to pursue a career in teaching also means a lifetime of marginal earnings in the Philippines. However, the fact that we continue to have education graduates willing to carry the torch despite this reality is heart -warming and very gratifying. We also see how, for some young adults in far flung, God-forsaken areas here in the country, becoming a teacher is the culmination of their dreams and they will never trade it for a job in a call center, no matter the stark difference in pay.
The NTM Coordinating Council continues with its long-term goal which is "to create a strong movement that cultivates a Filipino culture that celebrates all teachers' service and heroism". They have made progress in the pursuit of their advocacy, involving more partners in the government and the private sector with a total of 532 initiatives enrolled in the NTM Calendar of Activities from 2012 to 2014. The steadily increasing number of participating organization continues to celebrate all Filipino teachers' service and heroism. They have made progress in the pursuit of their advocacy, involving more partners in the government and the private sector with a total of 532 initiatives enrolled in the NTM Calendar of Activities from 2012 to 2014. The number of participating organizations have also been increasing annuallys have also been increasing annually since 2008.
From 2012 to 2015, the National Teachers' Month campaign has also gained significant tri-media (covering print, broadcast and online) mileage amounting to over P600 million. Their Facebook engagement with the public has consistently widened to reach over 720,000 in 2015.
Perhaps the most significant validation of the campaign's impact is the invitations they have received to UNESCO Paris for the World Teachers' Day celebrations and an endorsement from UNESCO Philippines to submit in the prestigious Hamdan Prize for Education. UNESCO has extended two invitations for the event in Paris.
Let's make this a nationwide campaign to honor our Filipino teachers and recognize their efforts towards improving our communities and acknowledging their contributions towards national development. The National Teachers' Month campaign is gaining traction and has met much success in bringing together various sectors to work together towards realizing their goal of recognizing the herois of the Filipino teacher. Let's do our share.
Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.
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