CEBU CITY, Philippines – Like most public school teachers, Rebecca Padayhag finds the school year 2020-2021 as one of the most challenging not only for her, but also for her students.
Padayhag has been teaching at the Matutinao Elementary School in Badian town of southwestern Cebu for 22 years. She had many challenges during those years, but none as tough as this year when the education landscape took a bizarre twist due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But like those years of trials, Padayhag remains optimistic that things will turn out fine.
“As a teacher, it is my duty to help the students in any way we can. I know this is a little bit challenge for us, parents, and children but I know we can do things together,” said Padayhag.
For the first time in her career as a second-mother to children, she will not be meeting her pupils personally as the public health crisis forced the government to prohibit face-to-face classes.
The school year 2020-2021 for all public schools nationwide officially began last October 5, just in time as the globe celebrated World Teachers’ Day.
Padayhag has 22 students under her advisory and will also teach at least six subjects in the fourth grade, which includes English, Mathematics, MAPEH (Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health), Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (ESP), Araling Panlipunan (AP), and Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (EPP).
The 58-year-old native of Pagadian City in Zamboanga is determined to give her pupils a fighting chance to pursue their dreams despite the uncertainties and challenges.
“As someone who came from a poor family in Pagadian City, I want to help children to build their future. Being a teacher is priceless because you will witness how students fight for their dreams,” she said.
“Learning should never stop so we are doing our best to adapt to the new normal. We’re also asking for patience and understanding. The important thing here is no children will be left behind,” she added.