Dr. Antonio G. Papa is currently a Trustee of the New Era University and the second head deacon at the Local Congregation of Indang, Ecclesiastical District of Cavite South. He is a retired university professor at the College of Economics, Management and Development Studies, Cavite State University (CvSU) in Indang, Cavite. In 2018, he served as a scientist 1 and consultant at Marinduque State College in Boac, Marinduque. He is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education degree at the Don Severino Agricultural College now CvSU in 1978, and both Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Extension Education at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, College, Laguna in 1986 and 1991, respectively.

By Antonio G. Papa, Ph.D.

The happy teacher is now more than six years retired from teaching and he would like to share his experiences why he devoted his entire productive life to teaching despite the many criticisms about the profession.

Who says that teaching is not rewarding?  That teaching is all work and less pay. And, that the government does not pay attention to the plight of teachers.  All these claims are fallacy nowadays.  You know why?  As a retired teacher, he will contest all these claims.

In his 39 years of teaching at the Cavite State University (CvSU), formerly Don Severino Agricultural College (DSAC), in Indang, Cavite, he considered the following experiences as very rewarding: 1) the opportunity for personal growth and career development; 2) the opportunity for his children to finish college education on-a-subsidized scheme; 3) the reported students’ enthusiasm and achievements; and 4) the provision of government policies that alleviate the plight of those in teaching profession.

Professional growth and development

He started his teaching career in 1978 at the DSAC Secondary Laboratory School handling agriculture and practicum subjects for high school students.  In 1981, a scholarship from the DSAC-Agricultural Education Outreach Project (AEOP) – a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project, gave him a chance to pursue and finish master’s degree program at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) in Laguna. 

Again, after three years of continuous teaching at DSAC, he continued pursuing graduate studies and in 1991, he was able to graduate with doctorate degree from the same institution through the DSAC-Faculty and Staff Development Program (DSAC-FSDP) and a dissertation grant from the UPLB’s Farming Systems and Resources Research Institute (UPLB-FSSRI).  When he reinstated to teach in June 1991, he was assigned to handle collegiate courses related to his fields of specialization.

In State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) like the CvSU, by virtue of the National Compensation Circular (NCC) Nos. 33 and 69, and currently, the National Budget Circular (NBC) 461, faculty members are given the opportunity for upward mobility.  As such, as an assistant instructor in 1978, he was given an instructor position in February 1984 on a permanent status.

Through NCC 33 and 69 evaluations, he was promoted to instructor 5 in July 1984; to assistant Professor 4 in January 1988; to associate professor 1 in July 1989; and to professor 1 in December 1992.  And, finally, on November 7, 1994, through NCC 69, he was promoted to professor 6.

Meanwhile, through the implementation of NBC 461, he was evaluated and was qualified as a university professor.  He also passed the screening conducted by the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) on August 26, 2008. 

But due to the quota system, he was constrained to still occupy professor 6. Prior to his retirement, he was promoted to university professor on August 24, 2015, with salary grade 30, in time for the implementation of Salary Standardization IV in 2016.

Likewise, as a teacher, he was designated public information officer of DSAC in October 1991, henceforth, he was given the opportunity to write news items, feature articles and to prepare photo releases which are published in national newspapers and magazines. 

This is a task that he is doing up to this time, even if he was retired from government service, and this experience is also intellectually, emotionally and financially rewarding on his part.

Children’s scholarships

One of the rewards he got from teaching is that their four children finished their respective college education at CvSU with very minimal expenses due to their scholarships as employee dependents. 

They are all employed at present and three of them followed his footsteps – two are teaching at CvSU Naic in Naic, Cavite and the other one at the Senior High School in Indang, Cavite and lately is serving at the Central Office of the Department of Education under the Educational Technology Unit.

Students’ enthusiasm and achievements

Other intrinsic rewards out of teaching were when his undergraduate students claimed that “they are anticipating and waiting enthusiastically their time slots for his class” and the claim of graduate students that “despite their busy schedule in their respective professions, they do not like to miss attending classes under his tutelage.”

Likewise, he was proud to hear and/or see that his previous students, both in the undergraduate and graduate levels, are successful in their respective chosen careers.  Some of them are his sources of assistance for those needy fellowmen whom he is helping.

Government’s support to teachers

And lastly, he consider the implemented Salary Standardization Law (SSL) 3 and lately SSL 4, as the government’s care and protection to civil servants including teachers.  The entry level in the Department of Education (DepEd) is Teacher I with salary grade 11.  Eventually, the salary of Teachers was upgraded after the SSL 4 has been fully implemented.

He could not imagine that a teacher like him––who earned PHP550 per month as an assistant instructor 39 years ago, received a monthly salary in the amount of PHP 117,000 as university professor prior to his retirement. 

On top of this, there are overload pay and honoraria for other services and functions rendered, say teaching in the CvSU Graduate School during Saturdays, and serving as resource speaker in the training programs of other agencies outside the University.

These experiences that he narrated are almost true also to majority of faculty members among Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) like SUCs, CHED (Commission on Higher Education) Supervised Institution and TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) Supervised Institutions in the entire country, provided that they continuously work hard along the four-fold functions of HEIs, namely: instruction, research and development, extension, and production.

See, you were exposed to his experiences, why he was so happy and proud to be a teacher, and why and how he devoted his productive life in the teaching profession.

In spite of all of these, the most important thing in his life as a teacher is the daily guidance of the Almighty God in carrying out his daily mentoring obligations on top of his duties as a head deacon inside the Church of Christ.