Teacher's ‘I love you’s’ set safe, warm learning space for kids

By Stephanie Sevillano

October 28, 2022, 9:05 pm

<p><strong>I LOVE YOU</strong>. Eujan Ruflyn Alice Gazzingan-Abracia, 30, a Kindergarten teacher in Taguig City, calls her students by their names with "I love you's" for their class attendance, in a post on Wednesday (October 19, 2022). The video quickly went viral and reached almost three million views. <em>(Screengrab)</em></p>

I LOVE YOU. Eujan Ruflyn Alice Gazzingan-Abracia, 30, a Kindergarten teacher in Taguig City, calls her students by their names with "I love you's" for their class attendance, in a post on Wednesday (October 19, 2022). The video quickly went viral and reached almost three million views. (Screengrab)

MANILA – A teacher in Taguig City has found an interesting and rather endearing way to set her class in the right mood every morning.

Instead of the usual roll call, teacher Eujan Ruflyn Alice Gazzingan-Abracia, 30, from the Kapt. Eddie T. Reyes Integrated School, checks the class attendance by telling each of her students that she loves them.

In a video she posted on social media and has since become viral online, Abracia could be seen calling out the names of her students by starting with the words "I love you," as the kids respond one at a time with: "I love you too, teacher."

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, Abracia admitted she has grown “clingy” and affectionate toward her students.

“Sa mga bata ko po, ang tawag ko po talaga sa kanila sa klase, ang tawag ko ‘love’ sa kanila (To my kids, I call them in class, I call them ‘love’),” she said.

In return, she said she has observed that the learners have developed enthusiastic behavior in class, as they feel a sense of “safety” and confidence in class. 

Teacher Eujan poses for a group photo with learners while wearing face masks (Photo courtesy: Eujan Gazzingan-Abracia)

“Tuwing tinatawag po natin sila ng love, or ina-i love youhan po natin sila, parang mas nagba-brighten up po ‘yung day nila, mas nagiging maliksi, mas nagiging maligalig, at naeenganyo pumasok araw-araw, na mag-join o na gawin ‘yung mga iba’t ibang activities namin sa classroom (Whenever I call them ‘love,’ or I’m saying I love you, it appears to brighten up their day, they are more enthusiastic, more active, and engaged to go to school daily, and join various of activities in classroom),” she said.

As expected, netizens took delight in Abracia's unique roll call. “Nice way of checking attendance ma’am. At the same time, you are establishing rapport with your students. Good for [a] small number of students ma’am,” netizen Ethel Fernandez said.

“A big eye opener to those teachers out there, that spreading love is the best way to teach growing kiddos. Good job ma’am, and keep loving! God bless you always,” another one, Tatskie Lirazan, said.

Sana all! Nakaka-good vibes especially for the students. Mawawala ang takot or nerbyos nila and lalo ma-inspire sila, always looking forward to going to school and making it easy for them to study and understand the lessons. Keep up the good work!” Chan Ella commented.

With the obvious fun and happiness it has brought to kids and others, the video has since amassed almost three million views and over 14,000 shares online.

Nakakataba po ng puso na na-appreciate hindi lang po ng mga bata, kundi ganun din ng mga magulang nila at ng iba pa pong nakapanood na ‘yung I love you attendance check (This is heart-warming because it’s appreciated not only by the kids, but also their parents, and others who have watched the I love you attendance check) ay very fun and very comforting way to do an attendance roll call sa mga bata, lalo na po sa especially for) kindergarten learners,” she said.

Abracia said that even if she has no background in psychology, it felt good that she is able to contribute to the behavioral improvement of her students.

She said she also wants to instill independence among her learners, after observing that some of them - who had grown used to distance learning in the past two years due to the pandemic - were having a hard time adjusting to in-person classes and were becoming overly dependent on her.

“For two years, medyo nakulong sila sa tahanan, nabawasan, at nalimitahan ang mga experiences na dapat ay napagdaanan na nila noong sila ay three or four years old, bago pumasok sa kindergarten (they were just inside their homes, their experiences have been reduced or limited which they should have already experienced in ages three to four, before they enter kindergarten),” she added.

Hangga't maaari ‘yung mga self-help skills ay kayanin na po nila, so ‘yun po ‘yung importance ng bibigyan mo sila ng opportunities sa loob ng classroom, hindi lahat spoon feeding (As much as possible, the self-help skills should be learned, so that’s the importance of giving them opportunities inside the classroom, that not everything is spoonfed),” she said.

Abracia said a healthy mix of warmth and support is needed to help young learners grow mentally and emotionally by slowly building their sense of independence.

Like her, the Department of Education (DepEd) has been pushing a positive learning space for learners in relation to the Mental Health Month celebration this month.

According to DepEd Memorandum 93, teachers are urged to provide learners with opportunities for socialization.

“Teachers are encouraged to facilitate activities that promote socialization or positive behavior among learners during classroom breaks or before or after classes. These may be as simple as giving learners encouraging notes, asking learners to share what they are grateful for, or encouraging random acts of kindness,” it said.

Abracia, however, urged her fellow teachers to take care of their own well-being as much as they look after the well-being of their students.

Ugaliing bigyan po natin ang mga sarili natin ng oras para paniwalaan ang kakayahan natin… Magpahinga, ngumiti, at lagi po nating tatandaan na sa lahat ng mga bagay na nangyayari, mabuti man o maganda, ay may lessons or may positive side po tayong makukuha (Make it a habit to give time to ourselves, in believing in ourselves. Take a rest, smile, and always remember that there are lessons and positive side in everything),” she said. (PNA)