Albay teacher tells students not to let the crisis erode their dreams

News Feature

By Connie Calipay

DARAGA, Albay – Living in difficult times amidst the Covid-19 crisis is no reason for one to stop dreaming. All the more, people need to strive and rise above the challenge.

Christene Dayap-Villanueva, a teacher of the Mabini Elementary School in remote Barangay Tabon-tabon here, said this is her belief which she shares with her students.

RISING ABOVE CHALLENGES. Christene Dayap-Villanueva is shown in an undated photo together with her former students at the Mabini Elementary School in a remote village in Daraga town, Albay province. She advised learners to not let the health crisis stop them from realizing their dreams. (Photo courtesy of Christene Villanueva)

“This Covid-19 pandemic must not stop my students’ desire to learn and realize their dreams,” she told the Philippines News Agency.News Feature

Villanueva said “sacrifices, dedication and the willingness to learn” are some of the characteristics of her students that inspire her to teach despite the prevailing health crisis.

“It hounds me really whenever I reminisce how the faces of my students beam with eagerness to listen to my lectures inside our classrooms,” she said, recalling the time before the onset of the pandemic.

When Albay was placed under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status last June, she immediately repacked and distributed relief goods to her students, along with some reading materials so they could continue learning. She bought everything using her own savings.

Before the health crisis struck, Villanueva needed to take three rides just to report to her school some 13.5 kilometers away from the Daraga town proper. She said she had to endure the long travel which took away precious time from attending to the needs of her husband and two children.

The wife of a police front-liner, she said she has managed to support her husband by giving him spiritual comfort despite the constant fear of the virus affecting their family.

“Most of the time I am the only one taking care of our children. The risk of being infected is there, that’s why until now, we follow health and safety protocols,” she shared.

Villanueva handles Grades 3 and 4 pupils. With the official opening of classes on Monday, she has started to print out the kearning modules for distribution to her students.

“Tuesday and Thursday, I have to go house-to-house to help some of my students who are slow readers,” she said, admitting that teaching and learning would be challenging at this time when no face-to-face classes are allowed.

True enough, teaching is a noble profession, that only those with pure heart can endure. Teachers, parents and students need to adjust because it’s really different now from the the convenient classroom set up.

Despite the difficulties, Villanueva said she is motivated by the parents of her students who are very supportive and willing to help their children cope with the “new normal”.

Constant prayer and the support of her family, she said, also provide her with the strength to continue with her tasks as a teacher despite the difficulties the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about.

“I believe that when you have strong faith in God, He will not let you down,” she asserted. (PNA)

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