When You’re Happy But You’re Broke

“That same night, I wrote my first short story. It took me thirty minutes. It was a dark little tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned that if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls. But even though he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear.”-Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”

In the Philippines, the crises, both man-made and natural, have led to the major setback that the country is facing right now.  Reyes and Tabuga in their article “Poverty and Growth in the Philippines pointed out that “the poor is not a homogeneous group. There are chronically poor people and there are those who were previously not poor, but, because of certain shocks or crises, fell into poverty (transient poor). The majority (52 per cent) of the poor are transient poor. The chronic poor need more long-term interventions that would give them the capacity and opportunities to move out of poverty. For a large segment of the population, appropriate safety nets during times of crises may prevent them from falling into poverty (www.http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/09/06/poverty-and-growth-in-the-philippines/.)”

I’ve been floundering up and about for answers that might somehow alleviate this dilemma: It’s already July and I haven’t received my salary for the whole month of June.  Since my compensation relies on a contract, it leaves me no choice but to wait until my empty wallet hires a lawyer and sues whoever is to be sued. Of course, in reality, that would never happen. An empty wallet is always an empty wallet. And a poor teacher gets hungry and languish without receiving a penny for his passion and hardwork.

A grumbling stomach cannot defy the essence of a teacher.  I believe that salary is not the be-all and end-all of teaching.  I know it’s a very ideal thing to say, but my mentors would always remind me of that.  My former teacher who already passed away epitomized love and compassion in the way she taught and treated her students.

Every time I bump into my students and look at their faces while they tell me, “Sir, we miss you…We don’t like our new teacher.”  Or, “Sir, we miss your class”, it’s a kind of reaffirmation on my part.  I don’t impose myself as a model teacher.  I’m just being myself.  I don’t forge friendship with my students.  I let rapport take its course and I’d like to believe it  happens successfully.  And this makes me realize that no amount of money or academic rank can surpass this kind of happiness.  It is the real compensation a teacher can ever receive in his life.

So, just in case the contract isn’t released yet by this week, well. there’s always a way to find money you know.  But one thing is for sure.  I will never die of hunger. I’m a teacher. I’m immortal.


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