Being a teacher is not just about teaching. It is about inspiring, encouraging, and supporting the students. But it is not every day you see a teacher go out of their way to reach out to students and parents.
In a video he uploaded on social media titled “Bridging the Learning Gap”, English teacher Ursus Junatas from Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan captures the challenges and joys of being a public-school teacher today, as the world struggles to overcome the effects of the pandemic. In the video, he is seen traveling across four barangays many kilometers apart just to tutor students and personally hand their report cards to them.
Teaching online is not an option for most teachers since majority of students do not have laptops nor smartphones. Instead, Ursus drives his motorcycle so he can visit his students from one barangay to another. This is his way of providing opportunities to those who may have difficulty getting to school due to distance and financial limitations.
“One thing that has always bothered me is how some students fall behind, not because they were not smart enough, but because their parents could not afford school supplies needed in today’s mode of education,” notes Junatas. “As a teacher, it is my job to ensure that students are not forgotten and they feel supported in their education journey.”
Netizens expressed their admiration for the teacher’s dedication by commenting on his post and praising him for his heroic actions. Here are some of their comments: “Passion it is,” “English tutor ko ‘to, ang galing!” “Galing mo Sir Ursus Villamil Junatas. Deserve mong parangalan ng Ulirang Guro award. Keep up the good work sir! So proud of you. #KMJS”
As the world celebrates National Teacher’s Month from September 5 to October 5, teachers like Sir Ursus are an inspiration for everyone and considered as a backbone of society.
Teachers’ jobs have become more difficult in many ways. The pandemic brought challenges in communicating with students whether online or face-to-face. Many teachers also have families to take care of, aside from their personal needs. They also need financial security through times like this. Just as Ursus finds ways to reach out to his students, BDO Unibank, Inc. through its corporate social responsibility arm BDO Foundation, continues to find ways to promote financial inclusion through partnerships with different government agencies for the benefit of many stakeholders like him.
Working closely with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, BDO Foundation collaborated with the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement financial education programs for teachers.
These partnerships benefitted public school teaching and non-teaching personnel as well as students by equipping them with the tools, knowledge, and resources to make sound financial decisions through lessons on saving, budgeting, financial planning, debt management, entrepreneurship, investments, insurance, digital literacy, scam prevention, and retirement planning.
DepEd also issued DepEd Order No. 022, Series of 0221, which aims to intensify the integration of financial education in the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum in various disciplines across grade levels, and ensure that this will be taught nationwide using the materials developed by BDO Foundation. The policy covers all learners, teaching and non-teaching personnel from public and private elementary, junior, and senior high schools, and learning centers for Special Education, Alternative Learning Systems, Indigenous Learning Systems, and the Madrasah Education Program covering Muslim culture, customs, and traditions.