Issue of October 13, 2019
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Benguet teacher doubles as handy man

TALOY SUR, TUBA, Benguet -- Ben Cangsan teaches the Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) of Grades 7 to 10 at Taloy Sur National High School (TSNHS) but he also doubles as the maintenance man of the school’s two sites.

“It’s my part in giving quality education,” said Cangsan, 51, who had been a public school teacher for 24 years at TSNHS- the first school he served since 1995, where he also hopes to retire.

He served as a volunteer teacher for two years before he became a permanent or regular employee under the Department of Education (DepEd).

Aside from handling the TLE classes, he also handles the electrical, carpentry, plumbing and other clerical works in the school. His clerical work, on top of his teaching job, is something that makes him happy and fulfilled.

He also helps to make several chairs and desks for the students.

Starting as a teacher over two decades ago, Cangsan said he was not happy with what he was doing as a mentor but he went on because his profession puts food on the table and provides for his family.

But as time passed, he realized that his profession, specifically the chores he performs, also satisfies him as he contributes to the students’ education and helping the school as well by preparing their classroom prior to an “observation” for their promotion.

“When students achieve something, like when TSNHS becomes a consistent rank 4 for consecutive years in the National Achievement Test (NAT), I always ask myself what I contributed and I tell myself I am part of the achievement,” he said.

Teaching is a decent job

Cangsan recalled that he had always wanted to become an engineer but his family cannot afford to send him to the University in Baguio City.

In the end, he settled to take up an industrial education course major in furniture and cabinet making at the community school - Benguet School of Arts and Trades in Bokod town. The school, later on, became the Bokod campus of the government-run Benguet State University (BSU).

“We will survive financially especially for a family of three. I have five children but my wife is helping in our finances, although her job is not regular,” he said.

He has five children- the oldest child, 22 years old, having graduated from the University with the course Information Technology is now working.

His second child is in 5th-year college, his third child is studying under the Alternative Learning System while his two youngest children are in Grades 10 and 7.

When asked about his thoughts on the possible increase in the teacher’s salary, he said “Thank you kung talagang ganyan at least may dagdag (Thank you if that is true, at least we have a pay increase),” he said.

Who is a teacher?

Cangsan defines a teacher as “somebody who will share the knowledge and guide the youth,” and do functions other than what is required as a passion to help the educational system.

For him, teaching is not only a decent profession, but personally, it will secure his future.

While the school has hired a utility person and there are now three other male teachers, he continues to do what he used to do for 24 years.

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