[Statement] On world teachers’ day: Our new ‘front liners’ rush on preparations while Gov Mamba greeted them with criticisms-Assert

On world teachers’ day: Our new ‘front liners’ rush on preparations while Gov Mamba greeted them with criticisms-Assert

Instead of kind words for risking life and limb as they confront education in new normal, the teachers were greeted by ungrateful and irresponsible remarks of Governor Mamba. ‘Sumasahod lang, pero walang ginagawa,’ was the governor’s criticism.

No amount of explanation, which is not even a sincere apology, from Governor Mamba could appease the teachers. His display of insensitivity towards the teachers’ plight is a manifestation of how detached government officials are to the cries of woes and despair of teachers, the pillars of education who have been trying to build the eroded moral values of this society. No thanks to the culprits, the corrupt officials.

Teachers’ efforts are time and again been disregarded and push to the sidelines. This new normal brought us all to a radically changed education landscape that is bringing unimaginable toll on teachers. The governor’s remarks just show how detached he is to the realities on the ground. Teachers are on call 24/7 to respond to chat-groups of learners and parents and of their superiors. Unlimited messages of instructions and commands from their bosses any time of the day implicitly tell them that they are on call 24/7. The new ‘work from home’ arrangements for teachers had already taken most of their waking hours and rob them of their time for their families and themselves.

Six weeks since the announcement of the extension of the opening of classes, DEPED was still not able to deliver the essentials for blended learning. During DEPED’s press conferences and interviews, they showcase exemplary schools that do not represent the general situation on the ground.

The six weeks of the extension were spent on the non-essentials like bombarding teachers with so many webinars, despite the fact that most of these will not be used in blended learning. Most enrollees chose the modular approach and because the majority of learners do not have internet access. So for what are the endless webinars? Hence, after six weeks, the much-needed modules are still to be produced. This prompted teachers and school principals to find ways and means to produce urgently needed learning materials.

‘From front liners we become print liners,’ jokingly says Randy Alfon, a Bulacan teacher – leader. He and his co-teachers, just like the rest, rush their ‘printing jobs’ for modules and learning activity sheets or LAS.

Teachers could not even think of pausing to commemorate the World Teachers’ Day which happens to be on October 5. How could they? This past two weeks, they have been printing materials up to the wee hours of the morning. Teachers have been complaining of being ‘zombies’ with only four to five hours of sleep.

With no health insurance and health support, teachers are literally putting their lives at risk in performing their duties. The demand for mass testing for teachers was not heeded. Our basic demand for DEPED to address the gaps and inequalities in education new normal all fell on deaf ears making the ‘education for all’ slogan, just that, a mere slogan. So many of our learners especially the least privileged are still left behind. DEPED is content with the turnout of enrollees when they know damn well that this is not an assurance of access to education. Without the needed support to families that are not capable of performing home-assisted learning, education access will just remain a call and a goal.

Time and again we witness how DEPED fails us in extending needed support and services while we perform our duties and social responsibilities. Just like how this government fails its people in dealing with this pandemic crisis. Just like how it has been failing us as we battle with past disasters.

Thus, on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day, it is with great resolve that we vow with utmost vigor to forward our issues and concerns. We resolve to join the collective voices of our people who, like us, are continually being displaced in this pandemic and are further disenfranchised by the government’s mis-priorities, inaction, and often anti-poor policies.

Let us not forget that all the rights we enjoy now are fruits of long years of struggle of our forebears in the teachers’ movement. Let us bear in mind that all the pro-teacher laws we invoke in claiming for what is ours are hard-earned victories. Not a single benefit was delivered to us in a silver platter.

Our years of world teachers’ day commemoration and our years of service as teachers should have already taught us that we only have ourselves to rely on. The likes of Governor Mamba and his league in the government once again brings the message that we can never count on them.

Thus, in this significant day, let us commit to all the more strengthen our unions and associations. It is the only one that would genuinely fight for our rights and welfare. It is the only one that could restore the dignity of the teaching profession.

Official Statement on World Teachers Day Reference: ARLENE JAMES PAGADUAN 0920 659 5863 National Chairperson October 5, 2020

assert_wtd2020_challenge #insensitive_mamba #october5_opening_still_not_ready #address_gaps_and_inequities_in_education_new_normal

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