Reposted by the same author from a former website.
As the year 2020 began, a lot of people feel that the stretch of bad events that happened across the globe, starting from the tension between US and Iran, followed by the Australia wildfires, and going down to Taal volcanic eruption which kicked 2020 off will definitely smudge and ruin the whole year. This even made everyone to be on-edge after the thought that what they welcomed with merry shouts and a series of laughter during the New Year’s Eve was something no one has ever anticipated to transpire –a worldwide pandemic.
With as much attention as the COVID-19 pandemic has been getting lately since it first appeared in the province of Wuhan China spreading across the world, it is no stretch to say that this unexpected catastrophe has created a lot of fear and anxiety among people across all nations, impacted the world’s economy, tested every government’s capability to address and respond to the threats brought about by such a national concern as that of a natural disaster, and most of all posed a challenge to each and everyone to remain healthy, maintain good personal hygiene, follow the government’s mandates, stay at home, and even fight for their survival. All that and more disadvantages this pandemic has caused continue to take a toll on everyone’s head. No one is exempted. No one is above this pandemic. Whether you are old or young, rich or poor, politician or celebrity, from Asia or Europe, from ethnic groups or any other social groups, COVID-19 knows no boundaries.
It has been nearly six months after the first outbreak began and still many countries have been battling against this pandemic. This is nothing different to the situation the Philippines is beset by. As each day passes by, more and more people test positive for the COVID 19 and the community quarantine continues to take effect in some regions which even aggravate the sticky situation more than ever. A number of people lost their jobs that made it doubly difficult for them to provide their daily needs. Some people have also suffered from anxiety and fear attacks, impacting their mental health. This stretch of the domino effect the pandemic has made in economic, social, religious, and political aspects along with the disturbances it has created on the financial structures of the world, makes people wonder about when this pandemic will come to an end.
While much of the spotlight has been put on the frontline workers, be it medical workers (doctors and nurses), policemen, soldiers, volunteers, and other people who selflessly provide the best of their abilities to offer services and risk their lives to extend support amidst the dangers the situation poses and has placed them in, some people began to question the role of teachers during such trying times. They started looking for the teachers’ traces in all corners of the quarantine area, at the monitoring station, in the testing laboratories, and in almost all places where they think teachers should be at, in action, during this pandemic.
Needless to say, there are a number of civic activities that teachers also took part in to provide help to those who were in need during this national disaster. Some of which I will mention here were either already conducted or still have been taking effect up until today. These community engagements that teachers participated in were done in support of the desire of all teachers backed by the government to reach out to those who need help during this national dilemma. This was with much humility and modesty that I tried to round up and presented all the engagements teachers had during this pandemic that might be unexposed to public or to some.
Teachers at Constant Communication with Learners
Immediately after the first outbreak in the Philippines, the government arrived at a decision to place some provinces in the country under an enhanced community quarantine. The local government unit in some provinces just also came up with a saving move to place their cities and municipalities under a total lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. All academic institutions were directed to suspend classes, malls and some stores were closed, and everyone was mandated to stay at home.
Even before these safety measures were done, the role of the teachers became very apparent. Teachers became the channel of communication and information dissemination during these trying times. Teachers were called out to disseminate information about the virus and teach the pre-emptive measures students who were placed in their care could do to prevent them from getting the virus. Every now and then, there was an integration of teaching of proper personal hygiene across learning areas. Students were oriented as well with how the virus started and where it originated. Through these, the learners were taught with accurate information about the virus. That was where the role of the teachers during this pandemic began to emerge.
Teachers as Frontliners in Relief Operations
The intensification of enhanced community quarantine has placed everyone in such a difficult state wherein people make strenuous efforts in confronting their daily cost of living caused by the quarantine protocols. While everyone thought that teachers’ duties are merely confined in the four corners of the classroom, teachers also took part in volunteer work. In the province of Oriental Mindoro, for instance, teachers spearheaded the distribution of the relief goods to a number of households in each barangay. This was made possible through the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro and the DepEd Division Offices (Schools Division of Calapan City and Oriental Mindoro). Teachers showed their spirit of volunteerism and compassion in extending their help in the relief operations amidst the dangers the activity exposed them to. This is a proof that teachers’ duties are not narrowed within the four corners of the classroom.
Teachers Stepping Up Relief Efforts
The lockdown protocols and the stay-at-home mandates made the situation even worse since these resulted in unemployment of a number of informal economy workers. A lot of families struggle with their daily cost of living since they lost their source of income due to the pandemic. While there are a number of non-government organizations and institutions that conducted various relief operations to help the people during this trying time, some teachers also set aside a portion of their salary to fund the relief operations they organized for the benefit of their less fortunate learners. This was made possible of course through the data gathering done by the teachers that paved the way for the identification of those less fortunate learners who will benefit from the relief operations. In this simple act of kindness, teachers have just proven that in this flurry of change, teachers’ selfless love and care towards their learners do not end in the classroom.
Teachers Engaging in Professional Development Webinars
The education sector is one of the areas which are greatly impacted by the global pandemic. Due to the protocols of the quarantine and the effect of social distancing, the education sector is confronted with the issues concerning reopening of schools. This has posed a challenge to teachers as to how they will deliver the learning instructions among students. As far as the health and safety of the learners are concerned, the education sector has been trying to look for a way to address this situation and looking at the possibility to venture on online classes and other modes of teaching.
With this said, teachers began to take part in professional development webinars to help them with adapting the increasingly digital world. This is to better prepare and equip them with appropriate and necessary skills in teaching through different modalities.
Teachers Supporting the Continuation of Teaching and Learning during the Pandemic
For teachers, this global pandemic has expanded the opportunities and challenges for education. Coming up with different modalities of teaching and learning was a challenge to educators since this will greatly affect the learning among students.
In response to this trying situation, teachers, in support of the continuation of teaching and learning during this global pandemic, have been continuously trying to address the problems regarding the scarcity on digital learning resources and other learning materials that would be of great help in the delivery of learning during this pandemic by creating and crafting learning resources. These learning resources are aimed at providing assistance and scaffold to learners in achieving the most essential learning competencies set by the K to 12 Curriculum. Apart from that, there are also group of teachers who are in the process of crafting Alternative Delivery Mode (ADM) in response to the challenges brought by the pandemic to the formal education. Teachers work at their best to design modules that will aid learners to still meet the standards set by the curriculum even in the absence of a teacher, in the comfort of their own home, at their own pace and time.
Truly, teachers with the best of their skills and abilities step up efforts though they may not be seen in action and working at the frontline during this pandemic. As the country’s educational system is confronted with challenges and issues concerning health and safety of learners, effective and efficient delivery modes of teaching, and lack of digital resources necessary for the materialization of blended learning and other teaching modalities, and the teaching and learning process itself will have undergone a paradigm shift, teachers act as frontliners too.