/ 12 October 2020

THE TEACHERS’ Dignity Coalition disagreed with Education Secretary Leonor Briones’ claim that the opening of classes was a success, saying that the issues faced by students and teachers showed the education department was ‘ill-prepared’.

“The entire week was marred with already expected problems,” the group’s national chairman Benjo Basas said in a statement.

“From lack of modules to internet connectivity issues, the main, if not the only methods of teaching and learning under distance learning modality, things proved to be ill-prepared,” Basas added.

He claimed that the opening of the school year was not a victory. The TDC, he added, foresees “a lot of Filipino children who will be left behind as evidenced by so many unfortunate events last week.”

The group said that despite efforts to make school opening a success, many teachers still suffered from the chaos.

“Because of all the confusion, teachers became easy targets to angry parents and learners alike. As if being bombarded ‪24/7‬ with calls and messages from hundreds of students were not enough, teachers had to absorb the raging insults from parents who can’t find anyone else to point a finger at for the nightmare they are experiencing,” Basas said.

“Who can blame them? Some of our parents had to stop working just to help their children with their new and strange schooling. Level-inappropriate materials, ridiculously wrong content, impossible mode of learning, and volumes upon volumes of paper they had to unravel while worrying that they could be sifting through Covid19-laden modules,” he added.

Basas said teachers experienced the worst during the opening of classes. They had to wait for modules that never came, contacted students via Facebook messenger, phone calls, and text messages. They also visited ‘possibly infected homes’ to check on learners’ outputs.

The TDC again called on the DepEd to re-connect with teachers to have a better grasp of the situation in the field and to help them craft more responsive and applicable policies.

Most importantly, the group said DepEd must consider the welfare of teachers instead of imposing unrealistic programs at their expense.

“Teachers have become the bulletproof vests of the DepEd leadership ever since, and more so today. But we are not made of Kevlar. We are flesh and blood, just like our beloved students. We have taken so many bullets for the agency and yet, our leaders remain indifferent, unresponsive and unfazed,” Basas said.