By Rey O. Asug
Many teachers apply for promotion in the public school every year; however, I have observed that many are also hesitant to do it. They just choose to remain in their current teaching positions which have become their comfort zones for over 10 or 20-something years! Pathetic. Now, what could be the reasons behind this professional hibernation? Simple. These teachers are hesitant to join the ranking because they lack self-confidence, emotional support, and proper planning. I have been a teacher in public school for over a decade now and observing this daily plight of teachers has been part of my day-to-day routine in school.
Now, let me tackle these things one-by-one.
First, some teachers fear promotion because they lack self-confidence. They lack courage to go through the grinding experience of the process of evaluation for the position they are applying for. Also, I have noticed that some teachers lack self-confidence because they do not have enough knowledge of the documents to be attached under each criterion. What documents would they attached as evidence? Are these pieces of evidence, correct? These teachers crave for technical assistance which their superiors could not give since the superiors themselves lack patience? to assist the teachers who need their help.
Another reason is that not all of them are given the opportunity to be properly trained in the craft that they are really good at. They may have participated in trainings and seminars but when it comes to application in real-life situation, they could not do it the way it should be. Teachers should internalize all the knowledge they have gained from trainings so that they will be able to apply them with sincerity and good intention. By doing so, they improve themselves in the process. And that, dear readers, gives self-confidence.
Second, some teachers lack emotional support from family, friends or colleagues. Why is this so? Probable reason is not because their family and friends are not sensitive to their needs but because these people also have their own preoccupations and concerns to attend to. They might be thinking that these teachers who need technical assistance could do it alone since they are already mature people. However, subconsciously, these teachers still crave for support. They still need emotional support which would sustain them to succeed in any endeavor they would go through in their professional life.
Lastly, some teachers are wary of being promoted because they lack planning. What do they want to become five years from now as a professional teacher? How do they plan to make it happen? What preparation do they need? These things should be considered in monitoring individual career path. Sadly, only a few are prepared when the opportunity of promotion comes. It is because some teachers still need to learn how to become proactive and prepared.
At this point, let me go back to the thesis and build some connections in relation to the promotion of teachers.
Promotion is a channel through which one can see the reflection of the implementation of professional development of teachers. Apparently, the National Competency-Based Teachers or Professional Standards for Teachers greatly help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of teachers. This assessment tool diagnoses where teachers fare in well or what areas in their teaching profession need upgrading. The NCBTS assesses the level of teachers in terms of teaching competence, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, innovation, and compassion. Positively, teachers applying for promotion should embody these skills and values so that when they become promoted, they will be able to do their tasks efficiently and effectively.
How do teachers develop critical thinking? How do they solve problems? Are they good communicators? Do they innovate things for the betterment of the curriculum? Do they have the passion and compassion to endure the grinding process of the teaching and learning? Those aiming for promotion should try to answer to these questions sincerely and wholeheartedly.
Furthermore, instructional leaders should guide and encourage the teachers to pursue graduate studies or attend trainings and seminar-workshops. Teachers should take pride in their professional development and increase their self-worth by sharing their skills, values and talents. They should not be left on their own during the promotion process. They need psychological and moral backup. School heads and master teachers may provide technical assistance to the candidates. Joining deliberation for promotion without any preparation and planning is suicidal. It hampers the willpower of the applicants aiming for professional growth and development. Candidates for promotion should have enough time to plan and prepare. Otherwise, they are just wasting their effort and time. In addition, the school should create succession program which will monitor the professional development and career path of teachers. In this way, instructional leaders, such as school heads, will know the direction teachers should and would like to take to improve themselves professionally. Teachers should improve their craft to be able to help the learners more and relate with colleagues and superiors better.
Last month, I had read master’s thesis of a secondary teacher in one of the secondary schools in the fourth district of Camarines Sur. The thesis focused on the level of implementation of the competencies based on the National Competency-Based Teachers Standards (offshoot of which is the Professional Standards for Teachers). It was mentioned in the recommendation that schools should create succession program which would consistently and continuously monitor the professional track teachers. Who has the chance of being promoted this year? Then, the school head or master teachers should keep track of the teacher’s professional growth. They should “take care” of that teacher’s professional needs. What seminars and trainings does this teacher need to attend? What activities inside and outside the school does he/she must participate in? Would graduate studies help? These questions should be taken into consideration in “grooming” probable candidates for promotion.
Apparently, teachers may apply for promotion to increase their salary, upgrade their positions, and become prestigious. On the other side, there are more important reasons why they should embark on it---the nobler ones: Teachers should aim for promotion so that they become critical thinker, creative innovator, and compassionate agent of change.