5 Unseen Challenges of Teachers Living in Boarding Houses: A Personal Account
In recent times, the phenomenon of teachers residing in boarding houses has become increasingly commonplace. Teachers living in boarding houses emerged as a trend around 2015, during the mass recruitment drive for senior high school staff. Many educators, eager to seize the opportunities presented, were quick to accept job offers even in the most remote areas. However, they were often unprepared for the reality of living away from their families and residing in unfamiliar environments.
I am one among these teachers, who, due to the demands of my profession, have been living in a boarding house. Every Monday, I undertake a two-hour journey to reach my school, where I stay for the rest of the week until Friday. This has been my routine for nearly nine years. The Department of Education (DepEd) seems to overlook the hardships faced by teachers living in boarding houses, including the personal costs incurred during our work-related travels.
I offer you an insight into the unique challenges faced by teachers like me living in boarding houses, distilling them into six primary struggles:
- Separation from Family: One of the most painful aspects of living in a boarding house is the separation from our loved ones. The fact that we cannot return home each day already entails significant personal sacrifice.
- Health Concerns Related to Travel: Traveling not only incurs expenses, but it also poses health risks. Homesickness combined with sleep deprivation often leads to illness among teachers living in boarding houses. Despite these issues, the DepEd does not provide any medical support to its educators.
- Limited Resources for Travel and Living Expenses: Teachers’ salaries have remained stagnant, while the cost of living, including rent and food prices, continue to rise. Consequently, we have to carefully budget our resources for travel. As the DepEd does not provide travel allowances, many teachers are compelled to take on multiple loans to meet their financial needs.
- Problems within Boarding Houses: Adapting to the boarding house environment can be incredibly challenging. Personally, I have had to contend with issues like noisy surroundings, incessant barking of dogs that disturb my sleep, dusty conditions triggering allergies, and an uncomfortably hot room with no air conditioning.
- Travel Hazards: The DepEd should consider providing hazard allowances to all teachers who travel extensively. Currently, only teachers assigned to island schools receive such allowances. But what about us, who commute long distances using vans and buses?
The life of a teacher living in a boarding house is fraught with difficulties. We hope that one day, the DepEd will prioritize our needs, perhaps by facilitating transfers closer to our homes. I can’t help but wonder how different things would be if the higher authorities in the DepEd truly saw us and our struggles. If only… – Avril | Helpline PH