Do Promoted Teachers Owe a Debt of Gratitude to the School Principal?
In the competitive world of education within the Department of Education, many teachers aspire for promotions to higher positions, viewing it as a pinnacle of professional achievement. This ambition drives educators to go above and beyond, engaging in a myriad of activities such as attending seminars, pursuing advanced degrees like master’s and doctorates, participating in contests, authoring books and articles, and initiating income-generating projects. These efforts are all in pursuit of standing out as the best candidate for promotion.
However, the path to promotion is not without its challenges and controversies. The process can sometimes lead to undesirable behaviors among candidates, including currying favor with those in power, specifically school principals. It’s not uncommon for applicants to resort to excessive flattery or even offering gifts and money to principals in hopes of securing their desired position. This practice raises questions about the integrity of the promotion process and the dynamics of power within educational institutions.
Once a teacher is promoted, they often find themselves indebted to their principal, who may assign them both official and personal tasks. This sense of obligation, known as “utang na loob” in Filipino culture, makes it difficult for newly promoted teachers to refuse any request from their principal, regardless of their own circumstances or well-being. In extreme cases, this dynamic can lead to highly unethical demands, such as personal favors or even involvement in illicit relationships, under the guise of repaying the debt of gratitude for the promotion.
This raises a fundamental question: Why should teachers feel indebted for a promotion earned through their hard work and dedication, rather than through the favoritism of a school head? It brings to light concerns about the fairness and transparency of the promotion process within the educational system. Is this a new trend, or a longstanding issue that has become an ingrained part of the system, seemingly impossible to eradicate?
The issue of “utang na loob” in the context of teacher promotions within the Department of Education is a complex one, touching on ethical, cultural, and systemic dimensions. It challenges us to reflect on the values we uphold in our educational institutions and the measures needed to ensure that promotions are earned on merit, free from the shadows of obligation and undue influence.