WRITING a lesson plan and speaking in front of the class is usually enough to provide a vivid description of a teacher. However, the distance learning approach adopted by the academe amidst the pandemic is drawing out another picture of the teachers, and it is far more complicated than that of the usual notion we have on them. As the school year gradually comes close, teachers are getting a taste of their new job description.
This week, many public schools have started giving learner's modules to the students' parents/guardians. This was to provide the learners sufficient time to work on their modules before the school year actually commences. The pressure to make this distribution works is on the teachers, along with the school staff, considering the lukewarm treatment of various organizations on the resumption of classes. The school had to work 'round the clock to show that they have prepared for the distribution.
A few flaws will spark criticisms of the handling and the class opening in general. The objective was to distribute the modules to the parents/guardians without or with less hassle on the part of the parents observing social distancing to eliminate the risks of acquiring and spreading the virus. This was only a part of the distribution task because a group of students chose that their modules be delivered in their barangay centers, so teachers had to make separate packing of these modules. The list of the tasks starts from here.
The Department of Education (DepEd) central office usually provides the teaching references and materials for the teachers. Still, since they could not offer all these learning resources in time, teachers are now tasked to develop these learning materials, particularly learners' modules. Teachers are now called to become content writers and module developers in a limited time. This is not their cup of tea. Writing and developing learning materials require specific skills. Teachers who are assigned to create modules have to acquire these skills as quickly as possible to make one.
Accordingly, teachers had to work overnight to develop modules. It should be less stressful if they have ample time to do it, but the assignment comes with a due date in it, so the pressure and stress just kept coming until their head spins.
The learning resources developed have to follow the standard set by DepEd to ensure quality. The evaluation process starts at this point. Teachers should assist the school administration in the evaluation process. We do not want parents pointing out several mistakes in the learning materials. Yet this time, we ask some considerations from the parents and the public in general.
These learners' materials were speedily developed. They had to be printed immediately. They underwent the evaluation process, but the evaluators did not have the luxury of time to check all the details of these materials, so expectedly, minor mistakes will be detected.
Then comes the reproduction job. Non-teaching personnel typically handle the reproduction system. They run the photocopying machines. For small schools that have a limited workforce, teachers manage reproduction. But the real challenge comes after reproduction because teachers need to sort out these papers to make up a module copy. This task does not require superior intelligence, but it certainly demands physical power. Teachers have to staple these modules, then the count begins.
For a teacher who handles more than five sections like the Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (EsP) teachers, they have to staple more than two thousand copies of modules for a single quarter's use. This work may take a day or two if it is done continuously and when there are no other tasks to accomplish. A school quarter has an average of 8 modules per subject area.
The sheer volume of papers will exhaust the worker. This task is out of the teaching sphere considering its coverage, but again, this is part of the new job. It is physically challenging and mentally tedious but the teachers have to adapt.
Part of the sorting out task is packing these modules to be ready for pick up from school or delivery. Coordinating with the students, parents, and guardians makes this task daunting. Teachers have to contact each student and their parents to provide instructions. Teachers will have to answer every query of the students and parents/guardians to avoid confusion. For those students who cannot easily be contacted, teachers have to make a way to communicate with them. During the pick schedules, it is expected that not all parents who are scheduled to come on the given time for pick up appear.
Some cannot forego their appointments or work to get these learning materials, so teachers have to adjust their schedules. And as teachers, they should maintain their professional demeanor in dealing with the parents and guardians.
Then the actual teaching job comes in. Once the students receive their modules and begin to work on them, teachers will guide them until they accomplish it. Parents are expected to intervene and assist their children, but the teachers must always be there to supervise. Students will have queries, and teachers need to provide answers. Teachers must entertain these questions at any time of the day.
Retrieval of the modules or answer sheets from the learners adds to the voluminous tasks of the teachers. This may sound easy because the job is to collect, but the real work comes when students or parents give nothing to manage. The challenge here is when learners do not submit their modules or answer sheets on time. Of course, teachers get the blame when this happens.
Teachers have to check on the students one by one to make sure that they submit. Teachers cannot just give zero scores when there is nothing to check because they are expected to work on the submission.
The other task is not strange because this is the point where teachers check the students' answers and record them. The shock comes again on the volume of papers to be checked and recorded. There are no machines to check and record the hundreds of papers spread on the faculty floors. There are only teachers picking these hundred of papers one by one until the last one is marked. Until then, the teachers must buckle up on their chair until this task is done. The cycle continues until the school year concludes.
The job descriptions include developing teaching materials and aids, coordinating with students, parents/guardians, and other stakeholders, making reports to be submitted to supervisors, and doing paper works, lots of it. The skill requirements for teaches today are mental and physical toughness.