story by Michelle Robin
She has to rush to the bus terminal to catch the 4am ride going to Marilog District.
After an hour and a half ride from downtown Davao...she steps down the bus... with a ready smile on her face. Across the street... awaits some of her students, waving at her.
This is how a typical Monday starts for Teacher Renalyn Calunzag.
She then gathers all her pupils. 82 kids all packed in a single room.
As a multi-grade teacher at Lumondao Primary school, Teacher Reign, as she is fondly called by her students, has to group them according to their grade levels.
Lucky for them, Grades 1 to 3 get to use the available chairs. But Grades 4 and 5 are not as fortunate... they have to be sitted on the floor at the rear corner of the room.
when everyone finds their place... she then starts her class by greeting "Good morning mga anak ( children )".
Today, Teacher Reign will be teaching Mathematics.
Using popsicle sticks, it's counting time for grade 1 pupils. The Grade 2 pupils are learning the number spelling while ordinal numbers are introduced to the third grade.
Teacher Reign then has to bring the grades 4 and 5 to the Reading Center, an extention room that also serves as their clinic.
It's Speech and Language for the higher grades today. She picks up a recycled table calendar and flips the pages...then pops the word of the day.
Grade 4 students are asked to give words starting with "GL" sound while the 5th graders use the words into sentences.
After each lecture, Teacher Reign leaves them with a seatwork.
While the graders are busy doing their activities...she now moves on to the school gym to tend to the 22 kindergarten pupils.
"This is how an angel claps", showing to the toddlers how happy she is seeing them behaved in class.
The group replied with a loud " whoot! whoot!." while doing a circular motion forming a halo on top of their heads.
Teacher Reign has to jump from one class to the other.
Even parents have their own assignments. During lunch break, Teacher Reign hands them some work sheets. It's time for parent- child reading session.
"Malaki ang naging improvement ng anak ko ( My daughther improved a lot)" , Marissa Ambin, proudly boasts that her grade 2 kid reads well. And she owes it to Teacher Reign, specially the correct pronounciation of words.
But it is not all A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s for Teacher Reign...when she gives the signal...kids take their queue...grab their toothbrushes and combs for their personal hygiene time.
When all are neat and prim...she gives them a pat...saying "good job!"
After a six hour class, Teacher Reign wraps up her lessons...as parents begin to troop outside the classroom waiting for their kids to go out.
Jelly Sabas, a grade 5 pupil is so eager to tell her mother what she has learned in school today. " Magaling syang magturo kaya love namin sya (she teaches very well and we love her for that)", giggles Jelly.
She looks up to Teacher Reign as an inspiration. She dreams to be manager someday. And when she has money of her own, Jelly wants to give scholarship grants to children in the IP community. "Gusto ko makatapos sila ng pag- aaral at maging teacher din ( I want them to finish their studies and someday become teachers too)", wishes Jelly.
Before leaving...Teacher Reign hands out copies of their homework... each pupil grabs their notebook...kisses her on the cheek and whispers " I love you, Teacher Reign".
She wraps them with a warm embrace to end
a not-so-ordinary Monday for a not-so-ordinary teacher.
Teacher Renalyn Calunzag has been teaching as a multi-grade level teacher at Lomundao Primary School for two years now. She is a Dep-Ed national- paid teacher receiving P16,000 salary a month. Most of her students belong to the Bagobo tribe, a native of Davao City.