DIOSCORO B. Vicentino is one familiar name in the Department of Education (DepEd) or in groups of indigenous people or in the music industry. He is the man behind the touching, sentimental, and haunting “I am a teacher” song considered as the national anthem of teachers.
The song may sound very ordinary for others, but not for teachers. The music encapsulates their life, their vocation, their sacrifices.
“I'm a teacher, a purveyor of truth and light. I'm a teacher, I was born to improve mankind. It's my duty to enlighten the world and guide the young to the path of the Lord.”
The first three lines speak of high nobility. Mr. Vicentino must have thought of the herculean task of teachers – not just teaching the lessons but guiding the young.
Teachers make sure their learners do not only learn academic competencies but effectively apply what they have learned in real-life situations. They see to it that the lessons they teach are not limited to what is prescribed in books or modules.
The lessons they impart give the learners the capability to solve their problems, make wise decisions, and face their future.
The composer, a teacher himself and a retired supervisor in DepEd, had perfectly put into words the life of a teacher. A Mindanaoan has captured the nation through his music.
Above all the lessons from the books are the lessons in life. This is the hardest to teach. The lessons aren’t found in books, but they can be imitated when teachers become role models.
When they show kindness, children learn to be kind. When teachers make them feel that they belong, the learners learn to love and care. When teachers show courage, the learners learn to face their predicaments. When they show great faith, children learn to emulate what is right and good.
As parents in school, they have this dual responsibility to teach the daily lessons and to integrate values simultaneously. Sometimes they go beyond feeding their learners when they get hungry or providing them learning materials, so they have something to use.
This act is something unique among our teachers. Walking the extra mile has become their daily companion.
“In the children, I write the future; in their learning, I find great joy. I may never sit on a throne, but I'm contented, my life is full.”
These are my favorite lines. These show how noble and great the teachers are. This is the picture of what they are as human beings who prefer to become teachers.
They find great joy knowing their learners have learned something. When students have slowly reached their dreams, they are happy to know that they have become successful. They are happy to become part of their learners’ journey in life.
Yes, they do not have high salaries compared with other professions. They do not have “big” titles before their names, but they are happy and contented to be called Ma’am and Sir.
Sometimes they aren’t recognized so well, but it cannot be denied that they play an important role in the lives of the young.
When students, after many years, recall their name or remember what they have taught or shown them, teachers consider this as heaven. A great achievement. Their happiness is as simple as that.
I just know all these. I am a teacher.
To Mr. Vicentino, thank you for this wonderful song. You are not forgotten. Your music lingers on. Your music will be written in our history.
As Regional Director Allan G. Farnazo puts it, you are a great treasure of Davao Region.