Teachers appeal to DepEd: ‘Allow us to rest, to recharge’

Published August 31, 2021, 12:46 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Teachers are appealing to the Department of Education (DepEd) to allow them to have enough rest before a new school year starts next month.

File photo taken at Latian Elementary School in Alabel Sarangani last January 2021 (DepEd Tayo Sarangani Facebook page)

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) urged the leadership of DepEd to give the teachers more time to rest as they prepare for the opening of classes in public schools on Sept. 13.

TDC National Vice Chairperson Olivia De Guzman said that since the school year opened in 2020, teachers have yet to have their vacation.

Due to the changes in the school calendar, teachers were asked by DepEd to render services on June 1, 2020 before the School Year (SY) 2020-2021 formally opened on Oct. 5.

“Even before June 1, 2020, the teachers were already doing a lot of work,” De Guzman said in Filipino. “This continued until the class opened on Oct. 5 until it ended on July 12 which means that the teachers were not given enough time to rest in accordance with the law,” she added.

Based on the school calendar issued by DepEd, the classes for SY 2020-2021 ended on July 10. Despite this, De Guzman said that teachers have been fulfilling all the requirements that the DepEd has been asking them to do.

Overworked, underpaid

ACT also shared the same sentiments. In a virtual press briefing last week, the group alleged how teachers are asked by DepEd to continue working “non-stop” without giving them enough rest and the appropriate benefits.

Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA) President Kris Navales pointed out that teachers have been working for 13 months straight since June last year.

“Supposedly, we should be taking our vacation now – August and September – but we are not getting any rest because the new school year will be opening next month,” he explained in a mix of English and Filipino.

Navales, who is also a Grade 4 Science teacher at Gen. Roxas Elementary School in Quezon City, said that the school year under distance learning was harder for most teachers.

“We have been asked to attend a lot of training for distance learning and there are so many paper works and other requirements that are being asked from us,” Navales said.

This, he said, is on top of the tasks of teachers to prepare the learning materials and monitor their students regularly. “We also respond to the questions of our students or their parents through Messenger, text messages or calls and there are also times when we have to do home visitations,” he added.

Given this, Navales also appealed to DepEd to “allow teachers to recharge” before they face a new and challenging school year ahead.