Salute to the Filipino teacher

Salute to the Filipino teacher

We take a deducible pause as we get closer to the opening of classes in the Philippines on October 5, raise our thoughts and gratitude to the Filipino teachers who have an important role in molding the minds of young Filipinos who will hopefully become cooperative members and leaders of their respective communities and of the country.

From September 5 to October 5, the world acknowledges the efforts of teachers in what has been known since 1994 as the World Teachers Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption in 1966 of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.

Much unlike the previous years, in what is known as the pre-coronavirus episode, which plunged the world down to the depths of a choking pandemic, the celebration will be virtual, given the protocols and restrictions caused by the health emergency which has, since the lockdown in the country on 17 March, infected and killed thousands, including front liners who staked life and limb to save their fellowmen.

This year, the World Teachers Day theme — Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Re-imagining the Future — is well-timed, considering the present health crisis, although the celebration will be online.

The World Teachers Day, co-convened in partnership with the UNICEF, the International Labor Organization and Education International, gives us — parents, academics and other educators — the opportunity to celebrate the progress and reflect on ways to counter the remaining challenges for the promotion of the teacher’s calling.

This month, as in any other month, we honor the nearly 900,000 Department of Education public school teachers and conceivably as many private school teachers who continue with zeal, commitment and determination to teach the young Filipinos to become worthy holders of good manners and right conduct.

We feel this is one moment in time when we, as concerned observers of the education field, to take stock of achievements and draw attention to teachers cry of anguish, module after module, lesson plan after lesson plan, who are at the heart of efforts to achieve global education target of leaving no one behind — with or without pandemic.

This rampaging COVID-19 pandemic has evidently added to the challenges faced by already over-extended education systems throughout the world, including that in the Philippines.

We call on authorities to work with teachers to protect the right to education and guide them into the unfolding landscape brought about by the pandemic which put this world at the intersection.

We agree with education authorities the issue of teacher leadership in relation to crisis responses is not just timely, but critical in terms of the contribution teachers have made to provide remote learning, support vulnerable populations, re-open schools, and ensure that learning gaps have been mitigated.

With the pandemic staring us in the eye, we immediately raise our respect and regard as we salute the teachers nationwide, the teachers who give their best efforts and think about how to upgrade their learning modules for their students facing their laptops and computers at home.

As the virtual opening of classes inches closer, we note that among the most powerful forces changing teachers’ and students’ roles in education is new technology. Experts have said the old model of instruction was predicated on information scarcity and that “teachers and their books were information oracles, spreading knowledge to a population with few other ways to get it.”

Today, the world is replete with information from different print and electronic sources. We agree with experts that the basic job of the teachers now is not to distribute facts but to help the children learn how to use these facts by developing their abilities to think critically, solve problems, make studied judgments, and create a granary of knowledge that in the near and long term will benefit students and their society. (IA/DS)

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