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The Power in Gratitude: A Case Study on National Teachers’ Month

Good afternoon everyone! It is a privilege to be here to share with you something that has personally brought me much inspiration as a young professional. As a kid, I remember that for a time, I wanted to be a teacher. Perhaps most of us in this room wanted to be one – after all, teachers create other professions. We will not be here if it were not for the hard work and patience of teachers.

To give a brief background, the Metrobank Foundation is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of the Metrobank Group founded in 1979 by the late Dr. George S.K. Ty. The Foundation serves as the Secretariat for the National Teachers’ Month – and every year, I am in charge of coordinating the celebrations together with our partners like the Department of Education. Today I am given the opportunity to share with you this special advocacy that has personally moved me and inspired me to work even harder as a professional.

Teachers have always been at the heart of genuine reforms in education. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Agenda 4 also identified teachers and educators as one of the three (3) means of implementation in order to meet SDG 4’s seven (7) outcome targets. The Philippines currently has 880,000 public school teachers (Rappler, 2018) – the biggest sector in Philippine bureaucracy.

Teachers would always make the headlines – from teachers being recognized internationally to issues surrounding not just teachers but the Philippine education system. Teachers are often portrayed as the embodiment of perseverance, but what have we done to recognize their contribution to national development? Have we ever taken the time to express our gratitude to our teachers for their service to the nation?

Today, I’m here to present to you a multi-sectoral initiative that recognizes the hard work of our Filipino teachers, a movement that started with the simple idea of saying “Thank You” to our teachers.

The overall objective of National Teachers’ Month or NTM is to establish a culture of gratitude and appreciation for Filipino teachers and their contribution to nation-building.

We want to engage the public in expressing its appreciation for our teachers. We also want to provide the platform for stakeholders to address teacher needs as well as highlight the importance of public-private partnership in teacher support and development.

The heart of the NTM celebrations is gratitude as expressed in our tagline, “Thank You, Teacher”. We want to share with everyone that there is value in recognizing our teachers. Several management studies have already established the importance of recognition and positive reinforcement, but I will zero in on a 2011 study published in the Australian Journal of Teacher Education. The author, Hans Andrews, highlighted the value of recognition among teachers. He pointed out that recognition boosted morale among teachers. Recognition also became a motivation for teachers to become better in performing their duties.

An important feature of the NTM celebrations is its collaborative nature – we believe that multi-sectoral engagement is essential in the delivery of quality education; hence we work with all these sectors to activate the celebrations on all fronts – we want National Teachers’ Month (NTM) to be synonymous with how we celebrate Mothers’ or Fathers’ Day – after all, teachers are our second parents, the parents that we have in the classrooms.

In the last 10 years, we have worked with our partners to elevate the celebrations into a national one. In 2011, the Presidential Proclamation No. 242 was signed, designating the period from September 5 to October 5 as “National Teachers’ Month”. Later, in 2016, Republic Act No. 10743 formally declared October 5 as National Teachers’ Day. These are milestones for the movement – an affirmation that the State recognizes the important role of teachers in national development.

Another important accomplishment for is that we have managed to establish multi-sectoral participation in the NTM celebrations. Finally, we are also proud to share with you that aside from on-the-ground activities, the celebrations have also garnered significant digital engagement online. Since 2013, in order to complement the on-the-ground activities, the Secretariat used social media to engage the online public to be part of the celebrations.

Due to the scale of the celebrations as well as its volunteerism aspect, it has been a challenge for us to document all efforts made during NTM. The examples we presented to you are limited to submissions from our partners as well as posts monitored on social media.

Also, we have also learned that the celebration is also a double-edged sword. However in the Secretariat’s perspective, publicity – whether positive or negative – is still an opportunity to promote teacher welfare. In fact, the NTM is a platform of discussion among our stakeholders to see how we can best support our teachers not just during NTM but also beyond the celebrations.

The National Teachers’ Month (NTM) started as a small group which sought to earnestly express our collective gratitude for our teachers.

The celebrations have been around for a decade, and our experience tells us that NTM is a prime example of a collaborative, working partnership with the private sector. In recent year, National Teachers’ Month has become the platform of elevating teacher needs and concerns in the public sphere.

The celebrations often become conversation starters which often begin with “How else can we extend support to our teachers?” The celebration is an opportunity to streamline multi-sectoral support for teachers. Every year, more partners come onboard to show solidarity for the teachers, may it be the simple act of showing their gratitude or mobilizing resources for training, workshops, etc.

Moving forward, National Teachers’ Month can be considered as an alternative platform for more effective collaborations among education stakeholders especially those who would like to invest in the teachers’ professional development. While many of our present engagements are short-term, some of the initiatives have the potential to be rolled over and adopted at a national level. Many of our partners have already established long-term engagement with primary stakeholders in their communities. The challenge now is how we can roll these initiatives to benefit more teachers even beyond Teachers’ Month.

To the League of Corporate Foundations and to everyone who took the time to join us today, thank you. I hope you will also take the time to thank that wonderful teacher who has inspired you to be the person you are today. Muli, maraming salamat and good afternoon!


Kristina Mae I. Misajon
Coordinator, National Teachers’ Month (NTM)
Program Officer, Education Unit
Metrobank Foundation, Inc.
18th League of Corporate Foundations Corporate Social Responsibility Expo
04 July, 2019 | Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City

Metrobank Foundation, Inc.

10th floor, Annex Building
Metrobank Plaza, Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City, 1200

(02) 857-9746 / (02) 8898-8855
(02) 8818-5656 / 8750-0837

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