The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the educational landscape, and yet teacher Jessie S. Comprendio in central Iloilo province has proven that teaching is indeed a vocation, from which there’s no turning back, but to serve for the greater good.
The 42-year-old educator at the Calinog National Comprehensive High School in Calinog town is the grand winner of Heroes of Learning 2021 by nonprofit Tagpros Children and Power Mac Center Inc.
John Adam T. Pagurayan nominated Jessie for the award. “For teachers like myself, Sir Jessie is an inspiration that we must do better in our profession,” says the high school teacher in Passi City.
It was only last September that Jessie became the viral Ilonggo teacher for plastering life-size photos of his ninth-grade students on classroom chairs as a means of welcoming them back for the new school year, which to this day does not allow face-to-face classes.
‘During this pandemic, we as teachers have to find ways to make learning more conducive to our students… We also have to look at how we can work with other sectors of the community.’
Jessie and several co-teachers also established the “Payag sa Kaaram ni Juan,” a space at his house where students who are having a hard time with modular learning can come for tutorials.
“During this pandemic, we as teachers have to find ways to make learning more conducive to our students,” says Jessie. “Complaining about the difficulties we are facing right now is not the solution. We also have to look at how we can work with other sectors of the community.”
But Jessie is more than just the viral Ilonggo teacher, who has to innovate teaching strategies under the new normal. As a teacher for 20 years, Jessie has also shared his knowledge with fellow educators. He is one of the writers for the self-learning materials produced by the Western Visayas regional office of the Department of Education (DepEd-Region VI). He has also been a member of the technical working committee of the Radio–Based Instruction (RBI).
“His unwavering diligence and strong commitment have never ceased. He keeps on inspiring learners and fellow teachers while continuing his works for the community,” says John Adam.
Aside from school, Jessie’s social responsibilities extend to the marginalized sectors. He has led outreach programs for the indigenous peoples (IPs), especially the Ati and Panay Bukidnon.
Jessie also guides altar boys and other young parish volunteers as a member of the Parish Pastoral Council of the Catholic Church in Calinog.