Friday, October 22, 2021

Valderrama: So, what’s in September?

Maria Valderrama

SHE Writes

IT WILL be September soon. So, what’s in September?

The first thing that comes to mind is the ber-months with Jose Mari Chan’s lines - “Whenever I see girls and boys selling lanterns on the streets, I remember the Child in the manger as He sleeps.”

I’ve memorized these lines because the song is played every year on the first day of September. We can even see the face of Jose Mari Chan slowly appearing on Facebook as early as August.

It looks funny, but it’s what makes us Filipinos. We welcome the cold mornings of September like it’s just a few days before Christmas. We enjoy the Christmas songs so early as if Christmas is the most awaited time of the year. We hail our being unique for celebrating Christmas for four months from September to January.

But before the Christmas season, let us celebrate September first as National Teachers’ Month.

This is not just an activity of the Department of Education, but this is embodied in Proclamation No. 242, s. 2011 declaring September 5 to October 5 of every year as the National Teachers’ Month.

Here, we celebrate the significant and central role that teachers play in guiding the children, youth, and adults through the lifelong learning process. Here, we refer to all teachers at any level in any part of the country.

And as we celebrate National Heroes’ Day today (August 30), let us not forget that some heroes in this modern time are still alive – some are out there helping combat this persistent Covid-19 virus and some are going to remote areas or communities amid the pandemic to bring learning interventions to learners.

These are our teachers – those who reach out to parents any time of the day to ensure children are guided well, those who work overtime to finish the preparation and production of modules for learners, and those who go to the communities to help families of learners.

They are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.

The teachers now are so engaged in the preparation of the school year since the classes for public schools will commence on September 13. Normally, classes start on the first Monday of June. But last year, it was in October; the first time to start in the last quarter of the year.

So, why September?

We can take note of what is stipulated in Republic Act No. 11480 also known as An Act to lengthen the school calendar from 200 days to not more than 220 class days which states that the opening of classes should be between the first Monday of June to the last day of August.

But it was also stated that in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency or state of calamity, the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Education, may set a different date for the start of the school year. Thus, the opening falls on the second Monday of September.

The teachers and learners in public schools have approximately 10-week vacation since the classes for school year 2020-2021 ended on July 10.

But since this is the second year of implementing the blended learning modalities with more than 90 percent of our schools in Davao Region implementing modular learning, the preparations will not be as tough and strenuous as last year.

Somehow, the teachers have adjusted. Their journey wasn’t easy, but they learned to embrace new strategies and methods.

So, what’s exciting about September?

It’s the idea that we can start pulling out our old Christmas tree and decorate the balls to feel that everything is normal. That hope springs eternal.

It’s the idea that we are going back to school, with or without face-to-face classes, and this means one year down on our journey to graduation. That learning never stops.

It’s the idea that we are almost at the end of the year, and we are here surviving another yet challenging time. That life is well lived.


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