April 23, 2024

For schools like ours that have already started their school year, we can feel once again the challenges this new normal education has in store for us as administrators and teachers, for our students and their parents, and other stakeholders. We are not certain about what we are going to face, but as educators, we know, educating the children must not stop no matter what. With these mixed emotions, the flag raising ceremony which our school conducted to begin the school year was perhaps the most meaningful flag raising ceremony for me.
During the ceremony, my eyes were just fixed on the flag (something which I do not usually do). The moment the assigned teachers were placing the flag on the pole, I already had this unexplainable feeling – a mixture of sadness and joy, of triumph and hope.
The first thing which came to my mind was that “I wish our students were here.” I felt the emptiness despite the presence of my colleagues. What is a school, anyway, without students? I believe, all teachers share with this kind of sentiment now, that no matter how rude and naughty students are at times, you will always miss them. After all, they are the ones who complete your essence as a teacher. Despite this feeling of longingness, the fact that I am here doing this ceremony with teachers who are not giving up on their mission to continue teaching children no matter how difficult it is, gave me a feeling of joy. Knowing you are not alone in a battle makes you braver to face it.
Looking at the flag, as it billowed in the air, triumph surfaced – triumph over the most challenging time of this generation. When this unprecedented pandemic struck us, it was almost unimaginable how we could go through it. Questions like how can we deliver quality education to our students? How can teachers survive distance learning without the proper training? Where do we get resources? But we managed to get by. There could have been disagreements and misunderstandings along the way, but the determination of each one to survive surpassed all these challenges. At the end, we all emerged as victors. Now, we are more prepared to embrace another year full of challenges in our new normal educational setup. Now there is hope that we can do it again; and perhaps even better.
The flag, having reached the summit of the flagpole, waving through the air against the clear blue sky is now a picture of hope – hope that we will be able to hurdle the challenges of this new normal education for the second time; hope that surely we can do this again; hope that one day, our schools will become as lively (with the presence of students) as it is supposed to be; hope that whatever challenges we, teachers, may come across with, just like the flag, let our presence give hope and joy to our students. (JOCELYN L. ALIMONDO)