imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

IN MY EYES: Heroes forever

Teachers will forever be heroes, fellas, anywhere in the world.

Accepting the challenge of nurturing and protecting children above personal interest is already a noble deed. Fighting stress is another.

Many stories have circulated regarding teachers who would cross several rivers and mountains before reaching their school have inspired us no end. There, they would stay in a boarding house and would only go home to attend to their families on weekends. There are teachers on wheels, teaching homeless children in the streets. There are also young teachers who would rather spend their time with street children than gallivanting around on weekends. There are also silent stories of teachers who would burn their midnight candles every evening preparing their DLLs (Daily Lesson Logs) and IMs (Instructional Materials) and then reporting to school on Saturdays and even on Sundays to do teaching and non-teaching related jobs.

Yes, there are a thousand and one stories about the heroism and sacrifices of teachers, fellas.

Giving their lives for the safety of their children is still another story.

The Independent tells of the bravery of one Victoria Soto, a pretty 27-year old teacher who did not think twice in protecting her students before her own safety.

A deranged gunman who ran amok by the name of Adam Lanza stormed a school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. He was carrying a gun.

Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach sprang into action, but were killed when trying to keep Lanza from entering the building. Upon entry, Lanza started firing. Teacher Lauren Rousseau hid her students in the bathroom in her attempt to protect the children and also died while doing so.

Before the attack on her classroom, Soto hid the kids in a closet to protect them from the crazed gunman. When Lanza entered her classroom, she told him that the students were in the gym. The terrified kids started running from the closet and Lanza began shooting. Soto threw herself in front of the children and was killed. The last moments of her life were spent protecting her young students by using her body as a shield against bullets from the deranged madman’s gun.

As Soto was sprawled on the floor dying, Lanza turned his gun on himself.

Soto’s students survived.

A total of 26 fatalities was recorded – 20 students and 6 adult staff members – were shot and killed. There could have been more if not for the heroism of Victoria Soto and her co-teacher Lauren Rousseau.

Another teacher by the name of Jenny, the daughter of an army colonel, was walking down the hill to catch her ride home at the national highway below when several armed men suddenly appeared in the road. Jenny was with several pupils who were also going home then. It turned out that the armed men were kidnappers of children for sale.

Jenny lost no time. When one of the armed men started grabbing the kids, Jenny pushed the man down the hill cliff. As the man was falling down, she grabbed his M-16 and started firing at the men.

The children ran down to the highway where they asked help from several men who just got off a bus. Somebody called the police.

When the police arrived, they found Jenny sprawled along the road uphill dead. She had several gunshot wounds. All of the children survived, too, as in the Connecticut story on December 14, 2012.

But teachers’ sacrifices can be best shown in the way they spend their lives everyday, fellas.

They have to wake up at 4:00 in the morning, do the household chores, wash clothes, cook breakfast for their own family, water her ornamental plants, prepare their lesson plans and instructional materials, prepare her own kids to school and then hurry to school to catch up for the flag ceremony.

In school, they have to see to it that her classroom has the following: English corner, Science corner, NDEP (National Drug Education Program) corner, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) corner etc. etc.

Then, she must see to it that her student records are complete: permanent records, cards, enrollment reports, portfolios etc. etc.

She also has to implement such rules on GAD (Gender Awareness and Development), anti-bullying, anti-sexual harassment and to practice maximum tolerance so as to observe the Child Protection Policy of the DepEd.

Of course, they teach the whole day, fellas. She has to be observed by the school head or their head teachers if they are doing the proper thing. They play, too, other roles such as being advisers, janitors, drivers, trainers or coaches, emcees, gardeners, mediators, carpenters, painters, masons, beauticians, clerks, cooks, ushers, entertainers, waiters, clerks, reporters, plumbers, electricians, coordinators to stakeholders, sales people and yes, even errand people sometimes. They spend at least 8 hours in school (despite the 6-hour actual working time according to law).

When they arrive home, they become again parents and spouses. At nights, they have to prepare their lesson plans, DLLs and instructional materials anew for the following day.

They also get sick, after all, even machines bog down. They have their own personal needs, too. They have children to send to school and attend also to their needs. When they retire, their lives are spent and they fade away. But in the eyes of those whose lives they touched, they will live forever. They are immortals for their sacrifices will be reflected in the generation that they taught.

Ah, teachers are indeed heroes forever, fellas.

So, if you see a teacher whether retired or not, think of all the things they have done or doing for us.

Then, you will know what the word teacher means.#