A teacher from a school in Manila shared photos of a makeshift faculty room after a similar post from another school raised concerns on the plight of public school teachers in the country.
After teachers were accused of staging a “drama” by holding office inside washrooms, Karen Apoloan shared the photos on Facebook to make the case that restrooms as faculty rooms are a necessity rather than a mere show.
“Dalawang department po sa school namin ang CR ang faculty room. Hindi po kami nagdadrama. Wala po kaming choice,” Apoloan said on June 5.
Ayan. Ang CR naming faculty room. Dalawang department po sa school namin ang CR ang faculty room. Hindi po kami…
She shared a table with another colleague in the faculty room in her first three years of teaching there, she recounted in a Facebook post. There have also been no lab equipment for science classes back then.
She noted that even if the school now has more teachers, the size of the faculty room is the same.
“Sa ngayon, mas kawawa sila kasi napakarami na nila. Siksikan na ang tables sa CR. Halos wala ng magalawan pagnandun lahat ng teachers,” Apoloan said.
The improvised faculty room of Apoloan and her fellow teachers is the latest example of school teachers converting their comfort rooms into faculty areas.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list said that teachers of the following schools came forward with the same situation.
- Maligaya High School, Quezon City
- Sergio Osmeña High School, Quezon City
- Bagong Silangan Elementary School, Quezon City
- Villamor High School, Manila
- Calderon High School, Manila
These reports came after the school principal of Bacoor National High School threatened to file cases against Maricel Herrera, one of their teachers after she posted photos of how the faculty members converted an old restroom into a temporary workspace.
Principal Anita Rom earned the ire of some people in the education sector including Rep. Ruffy Biazon of Muntinlupa who vowed to file legislation to make faculty rooms mandatory in educational institutions.
Studies say faculty areas are important places for educators to rest and build a sense of community with their colleagues.
Real, not drama
The incident reached Education Secretary Leonor Briones but dismissed it as mere “drama” to attract media attention.
“They had a choice, they could hold office in the laboratory rooms but of course, it is more dramatic, it’s more touching if you hold it in the toilets,” Briones said.
This was also the same reason of Rom in her statement to ABS-CBN: “Ang faculty room is not mandated by the DepEd. Ang function ng teacher ay magturo at hindi magpahinga sa faculty room.”
ACT denounced these views, particularly that of Briones.
“Teachers are the last that should be lectured about vocation and Sec. Briones should be the last person to do so since her P3.9 million 2018 income [bereft] her of any moral ascendancy on the matter,” ACT chairperson Joselyn Martinez said.
Last January, President Rodrigo Duterte promised to increase the salaries of public school teachers.
However, two weeks after the opening of classes, teachers have yet to receive a raise.
Briones might perceive lowly of them despite their sacrifices.
“We don’t deserve to be painted as a whiny, selfish, materialistic bunch for asserting our rights. Maybe that is why the secretary would not support our call for a pay hike, she thinks very lowly of us,” ACT stated.