Educators find meaning in their being teachers when they are surrounded by their learners.
As the world celebrates Teachers’ Day come October 5, educators from Iloilo’s central town of Lambunao will mark the occasion preparing modules and thinking how their valued learners could cope with the challenges brought by the pandemic.
Far from previous celebrations when teachers get tributes, surprises, flowers, and gifts from their students, this year it would be simpler.
No footsteps of children running to meet their teachers, no hugs, no gifts – perhaps a text message would suffice.
“Celebrating Teachers’ Day with the learners is more meaningful compared to this year’s celebration. Spending this special day outside the four walls of the classroom with the learners will create beautiful memories that would last a lifetime. We have to admit the fact that teachers are nothing without the pupils. But whether we like it or not, this is already the new normal in education. The safety of our learners is our utmost priority,” said Iris May Landazabal Esmaya, teacher-in-charge of Agtuman Elementary School in Barangay Agtuman.
Master Teacher 1 Ellen Mae Esperal spent her 21 years of being a teacher at the Pandan Integrated School in Barangay Pandan, which has a student population of 674.
Esperal felt sad that with the health crisis, she could not be with her pupils.
She was worried about how they would learn, now that they are on their own.
Nonetheless, Esperal urged them to never stop learning.
“Be open-minded. Continue dreaming and aspiring for a better future. Your success is not measured through the learning modality, may it be face-to-face, modular, online, offline, or blended. It all depends on your determination and perseverance to learn,” she said.
Not the same without the learners
Judy Lego handles the Grade 7 Special Program in Sports of the Lambunao National High School (LNHS).
Lego said this year’s celebration would not be complete without the learners.
“It’s similar to celebrating Mother’s Day when it feels useless when there are no children. You can just feel the celebration when there are learners,” she said.
Lego recalled that in previous years, teachers walked on the red carpet with their students waiting for them at the end with flowers and gifts.
“This pandemic, we could not celebrate even on our own because we need to observe social distancing. We just wait for greetings through social media,” she said.
Daisy Despi, principal of the Lambunao Parochial School (LPS), said this year’s celebration “is just a passing event,” yet she remains proud of her chosen profession.
“We celebrate it with our students before, but now we celebrate on our own. No more surprises from the kids. Sad to note that we missed it. Partly, we get our energies from them, too. It is more meaningful to celebrate with kids, compared (to) now. As a principal, I’m happy to see the smiles on my teachers’ faces being hugged, kissed, and appreciated by our students,” Despi said.
Joria Lozada, one of the LPS teachers, said her day would be spent preparing her pupils’ modules.
Lozada said with or without a program, Teachers’ Day is there, with the teachers working on modules for their students.
“Everybody is adjusting to the new normal. But we will do our best to give you all the best education and become successful in the future,” she said in the dialect.
Teacher Jessa Mae Legarde, also of LPS, shared Lozada’s thoughts.
She said it would just be another ordinary day, which they would spend working on modules and videos for their learners.
Co-teachers Nory Jean Latoza, Vanessa Donoso, and Arvin Lebuna, who all work for LPS, rallied their colleagues to work as one as they urged learners to appreciate the efforts of their teachers.
Lezil Pardorla, also of LPS, said they feel that this year’s celebration would still be meaningful because they remain steadfast in their profession amid the hardship brought by the pandemic.
“Stay strong, teachers. To our learners, study hard, and please appreciate our efforts,” Pardorla said.
Simple but meaningful
A Lambunaonon assigned as Teacher III at the Signal Village National High School in Taguig in Manila, Arden Anilao finds it a challenge to celebrate Teachers’ Day, given the limited movement.
“For 25 years in service as (a) teacher, I remember how special the Teachers’ Day celebration was. The programs and tribute to teachers were very memorable. Since this year’s celebration is virtual, we only have student government officers with us as student representatives via Zoom. Nonetheless, we really appreciate their efforts to celebrate with us,” Anilao said.
She added that while the celebration may be simple, it would still be meaningful, considering the difficulties people behind the activity had to go through.
“Knowing the risks at the moment, they (still) tried to make us happy. It is heartwarming. I really salute everyone who thinks of us amidst the pandemic,” Anilao said.
Meanwhile, Esmaya said teachers face challenges in terms of their safety, as well as in delivering quality education and getting the parents’ support for the various learning modalities introduced this school year.
“(So) long as the threat of this pandemic is present, the lives of every teacher and learner will never be the same again. Still, life must go on. We need to celebrate Teachers’ Day with twists and turns, embracing the new normal in education. Being optimistic, embracing the new normal, and following the safety protocols will be helpful in coping with the present situation,” she said.
Despi vowed not to give up amid the challenges stemming from the pandemic.
She urged learners to bear with the teachers who are doing their best to make their students learn.
Despi also thanked her teachers for “saying ‘yes’ to this challenge.”
“It’s a great challenge on my part, as the head of the school, on how to manage the demands of the new normal way of teaching, of imparting knowledge to our learners studying at home, and demands from parents, too. But we will never give up,” she said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency