by Clyde Ericson H. Nolasco
Being a teacher is considered one of the noblest jobs. Some would even say that it is more than a profession but a vocation. It is a life to live.
Jesus as a teacher left us with a teaching method -- storytelling using the parables such as the Parables of the Good Samaritan, of the Sower, of the Prodigal Son, et al. Thus, He is called the Master Teacher.
Jesus the Master Teacher | Screenshot from the Passion of the Christ
Like Jesus, who was often referred to as Rabbi (a Jewish religious teacher), teachers have the power to inform, instruct and inspire the young ones.
But with COVID, teachers were faced with extra challenges.
Homeschooling was not common until the pandemic happened. To stem the transmission of the virus, lockdowns were imposed, which included closing schools and prohibiting face-to-face classes and in-campus activities.
Distance learning became the norm. Technically, distance learning is a modality of teaching and learning where teachers and students are remotely located. They are “socially distant” from each other.
For the Philippines, because of the sudden surge of COVID cases and lack of technology in some parts of our archipelago, the Department of Education introduced two distance learning modality options: modular distance learning (MDL) and online distance learning (ODL).
Those with limited online resources may opt for MDL wherein self-learning modules are either available for pickup or delivery. On the other hand, those who can access the internet have the option to choose ODL or attend online classes and meet their classmates and teachers in real-time. It is like the traditional face-to-face classes but done virtually through online conference applications.
Synchronous classes are like face-to-face classes but done virtually and online. |
Photo of Ms. Tenorio, a grade school teacher from St. Scholastica's College Manila
From traditional face-to-face classes, schools migrated to distance learning.
Justin Simon of TechSmith even said that in 2017 there were only 6.6 million students enrolled in distance learning but skyrocketed to 400 million due to the spread of COVID.
It became the staple mode of education these days of lockdown.
As expected and because of the abrupt shift to distance learning, students, parents and even teachers found teaching and learning doubly challenging.
I am a teacher myself. Last school year, I experienced teaching online with our day school and checking modules of our night school students. Each method has its pros and cons. Both are not easy yet both continue to be fulfilling.
As we celebrate Teacher’s Month this entire month of September, let us show some love to our teachers as they too, out of love for their students and passion for teaching, sacrifice in this time of pandemic.
They continue to teach in spite of the intermittent internet connections and blurred boundaries between school work and house chores. They leave their homes in spite of the threat of the invisible enemy just to deliver and make sure you would receive your modules.
Teachers are frontliners too.
CARDINAL TAGLE: “Some parents had the habit of complaining about teachers. Ahh, this teacher's not so good, this teacher... Now that their children are in their homes and the parents are staying with their children at home, I hope you see teachers in a new light. You see how difficult it is to discipline your child. And the teachers have 20, 50 of them and you have only three. You see, so now give them higher pay!”
Support our Teachers
As one family under God, let us show our teachers the love they deserve, especially during this time of distance learning, when we are also limited in our ability to express our affections for each other:
Check on them. Teachers have superhero skills. They are multi-taskers. Along with their lesson plans, submission of grades, slide presentations, and reports, they are also a parent, a child, a sibling and a friend to others. They are usually preoccupied. They get tired also though some would not mention it. They would do their best to accomplish tasks at hand. And they would really appreciate it if you would check on them.
Respect them. With the advent of distance learning, teachers were required to up their game and be tech-savvy. Lucky the young ones who were digital natives but for the seasoned teachers who were used to traditional modes, it was as if they were in deep water. But in spite of the situation they would spend long hours just to learn how to use Zoom, sharing their slides or videos. They deserve respect for their effort to shift just to continue teaching.
Pray for them. As we pray for the victims of COVID-19 and the doctors, let us also pray for our teachers. Let us pray especially to the Holy Spirit that they may always receive the gifts of wisdom, understanding and knowledge they need as they conduct online classes and check the modules of their students. We ask Jesus, the supreme model teacher, to shower them with grace as they continue to be His instrument of love and learning.
Jesus, our model teacher, have mercy on us!