Teacher Tatay: Mitchelle 'Bon' Silaya

TEACHERS are our second parents, while parents are our first teachers. These intertwining roles of parents and teachers are essential in nurturing the knowledge, as well as values of the children at an early age. A Negrense young father is happily playing such roles, proving that no pandemic can stop his children from learning.

Negrense Mitchelle "Bon" Silaya, 29, a locally stranded individual (LSI) from Quezon City, is currently quarantined at a school in Barangay Lag-asan in Bago City along with his wife and two children.

The 29-year-old resident of Barangay Sum-ag in Bacolod City has worked as a technician in a hotel in Metro Manila since 2016. Prior to this, he worked as a waiter in a bar and restaurant there in 2013.

He was with his wife, Shera Love, and two kids, three-year-old Alfonzo and one-year-old Brianna, when coronavirus disease (Covid-19) hit the country earlier this year. They were just supposed to visit him there for a vacation.

It was on July 31 this year when the whole family arrived in the province. Since her wife is from Bago, they decided to have their mandatory quarantine there. The family is currently waiting for the results of their swab test. They are all asymptomatic.

Tatay Bon actually finished a maritime course in Bacolod City. Though he is not a teacher by profession, the father has a heart and passion for teaching especially for his children.

He thought of turning the place where they are being quarantined into a "real classroom." Using the spare chalk at the classroom, the father gives a 30-minute class daily to Alfonzo and Brianna.

On August 1, the first day of their 14-day quarantine, they learned about letters and numbers. On the second day, Tatay Bon taught his kids to write letters and numbers.

On the succeeding days, they learned how to count, identify shapes and colors, and draw different shapes and figures like fruits, animals and body parts, among others.

Tatay Bon said they will continue the daily lessons until the end of their quarantine on August 14. He plans to teach his kids, especially Alfonzo, who is supposed to enroll in kinder this year, other lessons like reading.

"He (Alfonzo) will not be able to go to school this year due to the pandemic so as parents we wanted to help him acquire advanced knowledge despite this challenging situation," Tatay Bon said.

"Also, we don't want this quarantine period to bring traumatic and stressful experiences to the kids. Rather, we want to make them feel that everything is fine and that they can still play and learn," he added.

Tatay Bon said they will continue their daily classes at home once they finish the mandatory quarantine. As parents, he said, they promised to be hands-on parents when it comes to teaching their children especially now that there's no face-to-face learning yet in school.

This story of Bon, a "teacher tatay" in a quarantine facility, reminds us of how important education is. That, despite the pandemic, every child can still learn through the help of their first teachers -- their parents.

The inspiring story of a father, who has huge love for education for his children, has touched the hearts of many, especially his fellow parents.

Tatay Bon's story, which was first featured on SunStar Bacolod News Facebook page, is currently making rounds in social media. Netizens praised and lauded the act of the young father, a symbol of strength rising above the pandemic.


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