imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

IN MY EYES: Every day, teachers’ day

October 5 is World Teachers’ Day, fellas.

At 10:05 on that day, school bells will be rung all over the country and the “Prayer for Teachers” will be simultaneously recited.

They will be honored and “pampered” by the students and the community for they are considered as the living heroes in these modern times.

The K to 12 curriculum has changed a lot the life and teaching style of modern-day teachers. With the advent of ICT as a teaching tool, teaching has become more adaptive to children’s moods especially the use of powerpoint, videos and other applications. Teachers are modernized and the use of manila papers and other conventional instructional materials has been minimized. Learning among students has become more interactive through performance tasks, be they individually done or in groups.

However, internet connection for all the classrooms has remained a dream to these days, fellas, I don’t know what happened to the government’s free wi-fi program to all schools and public places. It has remained a no-show service by the DOST. Until now, wi-fi connection has to be subscribed from the network cartels whose super-slow signal connection makes everyone’s blood pressure soar.

But the works of teachers nowadays have become more difficult than ever, according to the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) and the Association of Concerned Teachers (ACT) where most teachers tend to “silently” agree. Some of these silent and not so silent concerns are the following:

First and foremost are the RPMS and the IPCRF. RPMS means Result-Based Performance Management System issued by the education department through DepEd Order No. 2, s. 2015 under former DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro adopting the Civil Service’s Strategic Performance Management System.

Why the RPMS-IPCRF, fellas?

This is to standardize the work of teachers under the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) level. Wikipedia says that The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and works in 162 countries.

The RPMS guidelines stipulate the specific mechanisms, criteria and processes for the specific performance setting, monitoring, evaluation and development planning for schools and offices, covering all officials and employees, school-based and non school based, in the department holding regular plantilla positions.

IPCRF stands for Individual Performance Commitment and Review Form which contains the results of the teacher’s objectives under her accomplished RPMS. Here, every KRA (Key Result Areas) is divided into 5, with each area laden with objectives. Each objective must be accompanied by evidences and one must acccomplish 5 of those stipulated under each objective to get outstanding or excellent performance rating.

The IPCRF is usually done after graduation, fellas.

Teachers have to look for the evidences which are in the form of memoranda, certificates, pictures etc. to be affixed to each objective as proofs of accomplishment. Since the IPCRF is of a very broad scope, teachers have to return to school after graduation to work on it. The book-thick IPCRF is then photocopied or reproduced for 2 more copies. The procedure is not that easy, teachers say, since it is tedious and takes a lot of time. By the time it is finished by April or May, it will be again training or inset seminar time. And before things get cleared, the weeklong Brigada Eskwela comes next with a lot of physical and documentary works.

Well, the abolition of the RPMS-IPCRF is in the Number One list of the TDC and ACT. Another one is the reduction of clerical works of teachers so they can concentrate more in their teaching job. Still another is the implementation of the 6-hour working period and the remaining 2 hours can be spent outside the school where teachers can do their lesson prep. Both the TDC and the ACT suggest that the DepEd can hire clerks to do the clerical works and the many reports.

Teachers’ sacrifices can also be seen in the following non-teaching roles: home visiting, training and coaching, making school reports, decorating the classroom and producing the different subject area corners including corners for the NDRRMC, NDEP, adolescent health, anti-bullying, anti-sexual harassment campaign and of course, the mini-library, etc.

One very alarming news is the alleged suicide of several teachers due to job-related reasons.

One multi-grade teacher allegedly committed suicide because she had to make 14 DLLs daily and that she was frequently monitored by her supervisor for her DLLs and instructional materials.

Another one supposedly hung herself at the back of her classroom.

Teachers have to report to duty at 7:00 in the morning and go home at 4:30. Others go home beyond that hour and upon arriving home, after attending to their respective families, they have to go back to their working tables to encode their DLLs and make powerpoint presentations for the next day’s lessons. At this point, they are already exhausted of the day’s work that they tend to sleep on their computer table.

Sometimes, they have to report also to school on Saturdays for other activities when in fact Saturday is “washing” day. When Sunday comes, they have to prepare again their DLLs and instructional materials through their powerpoints. Sunday is supposed to be family day, but they could no longer have this as frequent as before. They have to do their duties well to earn a living for their families and love ones.

So, this is the life of teachers, fellas.

Are teachers overworked? Do they still have quality time for their family? Do they still have time for minor house repairs or time to see their hair dresser, manicurist and pedicurist? Do they still have time to relax once in a while by watching a movie or strolling in the park with the kids? Or time to visit their aging parents, friends and close relatives?

Ask a teacher, fellas.

Also ask their head teachers and principals.

Or better ask yourself.

And what else in teachers, fellas?

Just look at the fine lines in their forehead, in her laughlines and in her jaws. Look at their eyes at the end of the day and you will see traces of fatigue and exhaustion.

That’s why October 5, which is World Teachers’ Day, and that period between September 5 and October 5 (National Teachers Month) are not enought to honor our teachers. We should honor and respect them everyday.

So, when you see a teacher, think of all the sacrifices they make.

Think of all the professionals all over the world which they produced.

Above all, think of yourself. If you did not study under teachers, you are not what you are today.

So, why the WTD on October 5 only?

Teachers’ Day should be everyday! #