After long hours of teaching and working in General Vicente Lim Elementary School, Rizalina V. Castro, returns home at night to prepare for the next day’s classes. She does her research, prepares the lessons, writes and illustrates them all on tarp and Manila paper. Sometimes, she can’t help think it’s all for naught. “Sa gabi, magre-research ka, gagawa ka ng tarp, mag-drawing ka [tapos] pag dating mo [sa classroom], parang balewala iyon sa kanila,” shares Rizalina. “Yung mga bata ngayon, [gusto nila] sa technology. Ayaw na nila ng naka Manila paper, naka tarp.”
Despite this, Rizalina is committed to doing whatever she can to help her class. With the challenge of keeping her students engaged, the responsibilities—and sometimes, even the financial costs—fall on her shoulders. Once, she had to spend for a digital projector herself because she wanted to use presentations and charts to make her classes more engaging just so her lessons wouldn’t fall on deaf ears. Even then, engaged, active minds depend on so much more than just better equipment. To be able to spark the interest and imagination of students, there are many problems facing teachers like Rizalina.
“Mga August, nagsisimula na ang dropouts,” says Rizalina. “Alam natin kung gaano ka-depreciated yung nasa depressed area… hindi nasusustain ng mga magulang ang pagpasok [ng mga bata] daily. Bakit sila absent? Wala silang baon, wala silang pamasahe.” Rizalina shares that she has a lot of promising and hardworking students, but she can only do so much to ensure their education. More needs to be done.
“Ang mga nakatapos, nahihirapan na ngang maghanap ng trabaho, paano pa yung hindi nakatapos?”
In recent months, General Vincente Lim Elementary School received a facelift, and while construction is still ongoing, it’s not enough according to the school’s principal, Emmanuel B. Soriano. “Kulang tayo sa facilities, kulang tayo sa pondo,” says Principal Emmanuel. “Actually yung mga ginawang bagong buildings natin, wala namang ancillary services. Walang opisina, walang guidance room, walang canteen…kaya laging bawas ang classroom natin dahil kino-convert ng schools [ang mga ito] into special services rooms.”