Written by: Jeneth V. Paguio, Teacher II – Cupang Elementary School
We are all teachers by profession but we also become something else depending on the response we need to make as the call of duty beckon us. Especially now, that education has been brought to a whole new uncharted level. We teachers are the fillers of the lapses the new system has created.
On a traditional face-to-face setting, teachers have always been more than teachers. Even though our primary duty is to deliver a quality learning, it can’t be helped to do a little extra mile every day for our students and for our school. At times, we are doctors. We attend to the wounded, we apply first aid, and we give basic medicines. At times, we are a friend. We listen to the untold agony of the young souls we have to take care of, we get to play with them and laugh with them. Most of the times, we are counselors. We correct and impart discipline to everyone equally; we give life lessons along with the academic knowledge we deliver. We are anyone that our students need us to be. Yet, our extra mile could still go even further and further.
With the recent change of this academic year’s learning-delivery structure, everyone was forced to set foot on a journey unknown to us all. Even the higher ups who formulated the system in response to the global pandemic have seen lapses and struggles along the way. In fact, according to ADB Knowledge’s Blog, this alternative has exposed several weaknesses in our country’s education system. Plus, the fact that there are little to none experiences to this setup makes it even harder to all stakeholders, especially to us, teachers. We are the ones who have to fill in those gaps and adjust our duties more in order for learning to thrive despite the health risks.
Today, aside from being just a doctor, a friend, a counselor, a mother and so on, our roles become even more complex as the center of learning. First, we get to be authors and book-makers by making dozens of weekly modules even before the academic year started; and at the same time publishers as we print modules weekly in preparation for the weeks to come and our only difference from an actual publishing house is that our expenses are ours alone (Magsambol, 2020). Also, we get to be computer technicians and specialists as we get to utilize our technological resources in teaching online. Though it’s not our forte to begin with, we learned and eventually got the hang of using technology and internet more than ever. Sometimes we are investigators, looking for our pupils that were nowhere to be found without letters or emails ever since the first week of classes started. It’s us who are burdened with the responsibility of tracing them down and encouraging them to actively engage on their academic life. Many of us even experienced becoming couriers by delivering modules house-to-house. Most even became front liners, along with the medical and military sectors.
This is a proof that a teachers’ role doesn’t end on what a teacher’s role is supposed to be. We get to be anyone for the sake of our students and their learning. But the best part is that we get to learn also ourselves.
Doing the extra mile has been linked with our pledged duty as a teacher. It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. But instead of tiring out, let’s all look at what we have made to build this system better and more efficient than expected.
We are mothers, doctors, friends, counselors, cooks, writers, publishers, technicians; we are fighters, front liners; we are the light of literacy and the vessel that upholds education among children above all else. Then, we are teachers.