I had an unexpected, or should i say unfortunate, chance to attend an Education Summit a few weeks ago. And of course, being the cynic that I am, spent the day rolling my eyes toward the enormous ceilings of the Lim Ket Kai Atrium as I sat through the trying-hard-to-be-funny-but-turned-out-patronizing juvenile hosts, one of whom kept on deliberately mispronouncing words as a lame attempt at humor and as a veiled ridicule against the audience, 100 percent of whom, were or used to be, teachers. The event failed to meet my expectations [not that they were very high], mainly because of its political agenda. The big man behind it was Joey Pelaez, executive secretary of something in the DepEd, campaigning for a party list purportedly lobbying for reforms in the GSIS. Such reforms he says, will allegedly end the teachers’ woes with this malfunctioning insurance system [I was mentally calculating how much government funds he was using to organize the event]. He also commissioned an actress[never heard of her actually] cum personality development trainer, to give us a PEP talk. Of course, being from Manila [and tagging along a has-been child actor to boost our flagging morale], everyone thought she was fantastic and enthusiastically participated in her mechanical ice breakers. I thought we were at an El Shaddai prayer rally after that, except that God was mentioned only in passing. I have nothing much against pep talks but this one I found totally condescending and out of place, including the speaker, who was probably paid tenfold more than we earn in a month. Personally, I believe what teachers, both in the public and private schools, need right now, is RESPECT. This respect can begin from legislative measures that ensure respectable salaries, to an honest, corrupt and bribery-free bureau. We do not need to be reminded of that cliche “teaching is a noble profession”. Hearing that expression in association to my job makes me want to puke, because obviously, people, specially bureaucrats and administrators, use this line as a justification for the injustices they have been committing against teachers all these years.