JulieYapDaza 300x300 - New frontliners
Jullie Y. Daza

First day of school (public education) came and went, under terrifyingly abnormal conditions.  As one parent put it, seeing the high frustration level experienced by teachers was enough to make her wish that we had had the foresight to postpone classes for one year. I would have preferred to see the children playing, staying at home and learning from their mothers such chores as making the bed, setting the table, answering the phone, washing the dishes, minding their manners, feeding the pets, planning the day’s menu, watching TV, reading a book at bedtime.

It’s too late to back out, now that Education Secretary Leonor Briones has pronounced Day One an Olympic success. Though why she chose the metaphor of Lapu-Lapu versus Magellan and Filipino revolutionaries fighting foreign invaders as models of change weighs heavy on the mind. We’re already fighting a war, a war with no end in sight.

Warriors or not, our teachers are the heroes of the day. After our self-sacrificing doctors, nurses, and policemen, hail our teachers, the new frontliners! Their weapons are sorely lacking, not everyone has the complete tools and gadgets. Some of them have not received their hazard pay, due two years ago. Who pays for their cellphone load, Internet connection, emergency transport fares? Are they insured when they climb hills, slug through mud, cross fragile footbridges, watch out for snakes and dogs, find a hot tin roof to catch a signal, hail a ride on a backhoe or banca? Delivering modules, collecting them. Keeping the kids focused with noise, distractions, boredom, and technical glitches to overcome. All for love of the children! They who have their own children to think about!

It would be great if Secretaries Briones and Gringo Honasan of DICT could tour schools in a remote location to understand the realities on the ground.

“To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe, to bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go, to right the unrightable wrong, to love pure and chaste from afar, to try when your arms are too weary, to reach the unreachable star!” – I dedicate these lines to Teacher from Man of La Mancha (1965), play by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion, music by Mitchell Leigh.

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