Senators heap praises on teachers for their sacrifices

Senators on Sunday recognized the sacrifices and accomplishments of all teachers especially under a “new normal” where educators are finding a way to continue the education system despite the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public school teacher Fatima Robles prepares her lesson for her students in Bagumbahan Elementary school day before the official opening of classes.

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima pointed out many of today’s teachers face the threat of contracting COVID-19, even as other have been displaced and lost their jobs because of the closure of private schools.

“Despite these health risks and hurdles, however, we once again witness the resilience and commitment of our teachers who never waver to fulfill their duties and advance the welfare of students,” De Lima said in a statement.

De Lima said teachers who strive hard to walk long distances just to teach and find Internet signal for their online classes deserve the respect and honor due them.

She said this is why she supports the Department of Education (DepEd)  plan to hire para-teachers to assist in the full implementation of blended learning modality this school year.

“We can never thank you enough. The least we can do to genuinely honor and recognize your sacrifices is to address your concerns and give the needed assistance to lessen your burden,” De Lima further said.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, also said he salutes teachers for the sacrifices they rendered in preparation for a blended learning experience for students even though they are also having a hard time adjusting to an unfamiliar phase in the education sector.

“Nagkakaisa tayo: kailangan magpatuloy ang edukasyon. Sa tulong ng ating mga magulang, pribadong sector at mga local na pamahalaan, naniniwala po tayong handa na ang ating education sector sa pangunguna ng DepEd sa ‘new normal’ education. (We are united: we need to continue education. With the help of parents, the private sector and local government units, we believe the education sector, under the leadership of the DepEd is ready for the ‘new normal’ education),” Villanueva said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, for her part, urged the government to ensure there is sufficient  funding for teachers for their medical benefits in case they get sick during the course of the school year.

She also noted that even before the start of the school opening, teachers and school personnel have all been busy preparing educational materials under the new modes of learning.

“That is why we must ensure that our teachers are protected so that learning continues smoothly and no student is left behind,” Hontiveros said in a separate statement.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, reiterated the need to lighten the load of teachers especially during the epidemic.

“I’ve talked to some of the teachers, and I heard they are really overloaded. Some are making broadcasts, others are even going to radio stations for taping, others are creating graphics—so it is really a heavy burden,” Gatchalian said in an interview over radio DZRH.

“That is why it is important for us to monitor and manage the workload given to teachers. We must also provide them enough mental health support. Our teachers are also afraid to go out, they are also afraid for their families,” he stressed.