MIXED emotions. Many are happy, others are sad. Some are curious, maybe a few are afraid. These are the stories in the ground, and these are real.

When the limited face-to-face or in-person classes began, the streets have been alive again. Vehicles start to pile up the streets and we see the normal sight of students carrying their bags. The only peculiar view is seen in their faces.

The Grade 2 learners are happy and curious to be inside the school for the first time. Their first two years of schooling – Kindergarten and Grade 1 – were all done in the comfort of their homes. Mostly, they were personally guided by their parents or any member of the family.

Although in many cases they see their teachers during home visitation or in any form of student-teacher communication, the image of a teacher standing in front of them in a classroom set-up is far different. For Kindergarten and Grade 1 learners, some are excited and afraid at the same time. They are excited to experience how it is to be inside the classroom with classmates. Some are afraid to be left alone with their teachers.

But when we monitored around the schools as they implement the limited face-to-face classes, we have witnessed how these learners actively listen and participate in their classes. We have heard parents expressing their excitement to bring their children back to school.

A barangay captain and a parent at the same time expressed how happy he was that children go back to school. He experienced firsthand how his own children react when they teach them. He also shared the stories of some parents on the reactions of their children.

“Tama ni imo ginatudlo, ma? Di baya ikaw akong teacher” or “maayo pa si teacher mutudlo di masuko”.

In fact, one video of a 5-year-old boy from Davao Oriental went viral last month when he expressed his study routine.

“Ugma study ta. Ugma, study na pud ta. Hangtod sa hangtod, study gihapon. Hangtod sa hangtod, magstudy gihapon. Pag naa na sila mama, study gihapon uy. Unsa ma’y naa ana. Unsa ma’y problema ana.”

But there are also those in higher grade levels, especially Junior High School and Senior High School students, who are sad and they prefer to be in the modular learning so they have time to work and help the family. Since the pandemic, some students have been working and finding means to earn since they can just answer their modules anytime.

One student, for example, is tending the store of her relative and she is paid for it. She has started saving all her earnings in preparation for college life. Another student is helping their small family business since they can no longer hire and pay a worker since the pandemic. Some creative minds have even started their own little business, like online selling.