LOVE FOR TEACHING. Pubic school teacher Martina Cabilbigan (left) spends her spare time at home assisting one of her two children in the latter’s online classes in this time of the pandemic at home in Cotabato City. On the other hand, former radio broadcaster-turned-teacher Krezel Dianne Sampani-Beñez (right), finds a way of fusing her love for broadcast and teaching through her hour-long radio program 'DepEd Updates’ in Kidapawan City. (Photos courtesy of Cabilbigan and Beñez)

COTABATO CITY – The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic may have brought new challenges to the teaching profession but public teacher Martina Cabilbigan said nothing will change her love for the profession.

The 40-year-old Grade 10 teacher said her daily routine has not changed, such as waking up early and prepare her learning materials.

Cabilbigan, who teaches at the Datu Arnel Datukon National High School (DADNHS) in Barangay Taviran, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, has to endure an hour-long, thrice-a-week trip from the city to the school to deliver and retrieve the learning modules of her 70 pupils.

The teachers do not meet their students face-to-face. Parents instead drop by the school to get the modules of their children, she said.

“It’s difficult, but we have a vow fulfill our job as one under the vision-mission of the Department of Education (DepEd),” she told the  Philippine News Agency.

Cabilbigan said she travels with other teachers through commuter vans.

The threat of infection is real, but she said sacrifices should be made--particularly in this time of the pandemic--“for the love of teaching.”

“We fear the pandemic but our obligation as teachers to our students does not hinder us to teach as it is the one thing that we love to do,” Cabilbigan said.

Teaching from home, If her schedule does not permit her to go to school, Cabilbigan said she helps in the online classes of her two schoolchildren – a 12-year-old Grade 7 student and another seven-year-old Grade 2 learner.

She said she senses that her children miss their classmates but keep them busy instead of their online learning under her watchful eyes.

“I let them play online games sometimes but with limitation,” she said with a smile.

Cabilbigan noted that unlike in the city, the internet signal at her school remains unstable.

“That is why we chose the module learning system for our students as their parents cannot buy laptops for their children,” she said.

Radio-inspired teaching

Meanwhile, in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, a former female broadcaster-turned-teacher is using the radio as a medium in educating the young ones.

Krezel Dianne Sampani-Beñez, 29, a former newscaster of the Catholic-run DXND-Kidapawan, is now working with the Kidapawan City National High School teaching media and information literacy for Grade-12 senior high school with some 250 students in six sections daily since 2013.

Since the start of the pandemic in March, additional duties were placed on her using blended learning as host of “DepEd Updates”, an hour-long radio program giving the current learning developments and catering to questions from learners and parents reached by the radio station in Central Mindanao.

“It’s not an easy job but if you have that amount of motivation, you win the day with a smile”, she said.

Using radio as a medium, she said, has lifted her spirit to go on despite the coronavirus disease crisis.

“Broadcasting is my passion, which is my first love, and teaching is my career, and it is really unexpected that it fused timely in the midst of this pandemic”, she said.

She said her reason for being a teacher was not just about to impart knowledge and skills but also guide the young ones and lead them to their future.

Beñez said she wants her radio listeners, parents, and students alike, to adapt to the changes.

"With the use of the radio, television, and online technology, things have somehow become much easier but nothing fulfills every teachers’ aspiration of seeing their students face-to-face once more,” she said. (With interview contribution from John Andrew Tabugoc/PNA)