‘Don’t overload teachers to prevent burnout’, Sen. Gatchalian urges DepEd

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to come up with a mechanism that would help public school teachers cope with a congested workload as they prepare for the shift to distance learning.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

With barely a few days to go before classes in public school open, Gatchalian said it is important to spare teachers from a heavy workload to prevent burnout.

The senator pointed out teachers and principals are “multi-tasking” ahead of the October 5 class opening.  Aside from preparing for the learning materials, including printing self-learning modules that would be distributed to students, teachers and principals are also attending webinars and completing courses on different learning modalities.

He warned that bombarding public school teachers with loads of tasks would increase their stress and anxiety levels and eventually hamper the effectiveness and quality of instruction for the more than 22 million students enrolled in public schools.

“Ang ating mga guro at punong-guro ay maituturing nating mga frontliners sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon sa kabila ng banta ng COVID-19. Bahagi ng ating pangangalaga sa kanilang kapakanan ay ang panigurong hindi sila natatabunan ng napakaraming gawain (We consider our teachers and principals as our frontliners in continuing education amid the threat of COVID-19. Part of efforts to ensure their welfare is to make sure they wouldn’t be burdened too much with heavy workload),” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“Kung sa simula pa lang ng klase ay pagod na ang ating mga guro, hindi magiging lubusang mabisa ang pagtuturo kung hindi sila nakatutok nang husto dito, (If our teachers are tired from the get go, they wouldn’t be able to effectively teach our students if they are not focused on this),” the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture further said.

Gatchalian said he will seek an inquiry into the status of the implementation of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers to ascertain the living and working conditions of public school teachers.

Under the law, he said public school teachers shall not render more than six hours of teaching in a day and are also entitled to additional compensation if their teaching load exceeds six hours and if they perform activities outside their normal duties.

But despite these provisions, the lawmaker noted that teachers were already burdened with non-teaching tasks, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.

“We are all witnesses to the many sacrifices of our teachers who have been struggling to adapt to the new normal way of teaching students through various modalities. They never stop in their efforts to reach out to all students to make sure that they will be onboard when classes open on October 5. We are proud of them!” Gatchalian said.