A federation of teachers urged the Department of Education (DepEd) Monday to “address work-related causes of stress” among teachers that are well within its control.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines issued this appeal following reports that a teacher committed suicide in Leyte last Friday.
Citing media reports, the DepEd local office had “conducted psychological intervention” to other teachers at the Dulag Central School after a co-teacher whose two children tested positive for COVID 19 allegedly killed herself.
“This case demonstrates the magnitude of stress that our teachers endure at present,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
“They too experience all the health and economic worries that the pandemic brought, while they bear all the problems that come with the ill-prepared and problematic distance learning program of DepEd,” he added.
Basilio said that there are many factors that affect mental state of teachers at the moment.
Some, he added, are “problems that are of the government’s doing and, in turn, well within the government’s capacity to resolve, if only it would give due consideration to the objective situation of our teachers and learners.”
The lack of health protection at work coupled with “too heavy workload and mounting teaching expenses” brings anxiety among teachers, Basilio said.
Basilio also noted that teachers’ “physical and mental thresholds are stretched to the hilt” as they grapple with the new modes of teaching.
Aside from the adjustment that they need to do with the learning delivery modalities, he noted that printing and distributing modules under vulnerable conditions as well as working until the wee hours while making reports and addressing students’ and parents’ concerns take a toll on their overall well-being.
Stretching the family’s budget to accommodate the additional teaching expenses while doing household chores and guiding their own children in distance learning, Basilio said, also pushes many teachers to the their limits.
Basilio said that psycho-social interventions “will not suffice if the causes of mental stress were not really addressed.”
Thus, the group is pushing for a “more accountable, realistic, humane, and compassionate framework” in education continuity.
ACT said that the Duterte government should fulfill its duty to teachers and students by sufficiently funding the modules, devices, and Internet needs, especially for those who are poor.