IN PHOTOS: First day of school at the quake-hit Nabuclod Integrated School
Girlie Bacani waited for her young students to arrive and enroll in her class on the first day of this school year at the Nabuclod Integrated School in Floridablanca, Pampanga. She teaches kindergarten at the school.
This is the first day that she will be teaching her pupils aged 5 to 6 since the 6.1 magnitude earthquake on April 22 destroyed the classroom that she was previously using. As of now, she has to cram more than a dozen children in a temporary room.
“Nang makita ko po na nasira po ng lindol ang classroom ko, nalungkot po ako siyempre. Iisipin ko po kung saan ko po tuturuan ang kindergarten pupils ko po, lalo na po maliliit po sila.”
(When I saw that the classroom that we used had been destroyed by the earthquake, I felt sad of course. I had to think where we could hold classes with my kindergarten pupils, especially because they are still young.)
Another issue that they face is the weather. According to state weather bureau PAGASA, the onset of this year’s rainy season may begin as soon as the first half of June. The rain makes the 37-year old worry for her students.
“Iniisip ko po sa pag-aaral namin nitong June, saan po kami pwedeng mag klase? Mainit po, eh kung biglang umulan po?”
(I think of our classes when June comes and where we would hold our classes. It’s very hot. What if it suddenly rains?”)
Because of the earthquake, Bacani’s classroom was rendered unusable. The teacher of eight years had to ask for help from the schools’ principal and the school board. All around the school’s compound, buildings can be seen crumbling, with posts and whole walls perilously on the brink of falling.
“Dati, iniisip mo lang kung paano maturuan ang mga bata. Ngayon, halos madami ka nang iisipin na paano kaya gagawin. Paano uumpisahan.”
(Before, I would only think about what to teach the children. Now, I have to think of so many things and how to do them. How do I begin?)
“Napagkasunduan po naming na dito po ako ma-assign sa faculty office. Yung iba sa covered court. Yung iba naman sa natirang dalawang classroom.”
(We agreed that I would be assigned here at the faculty office temporarily. The others in meantime will use the covered courts and the two remaining classrooms.)
Recent assessment work by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) showed that a total of 13 buildings in the compound are beyond repair and must be replaced for safety reasons. The school only has two classrooms left for 580 to 600 students.
“Pag nakikita ko po ang mga bata na first time po nila pumasok, masaya naman po sila, yun po nakaka pag pasaya ng damdamin.”
(Whenever I see the children attending school for the first time and they are happy, it makes me feel happy.)
“Kahit ganito po ang sitwasyon namin ay ma-e-encourage ka na magturo ng maayos.”
(Even if this is our situation, you get encouraged to teach them well.)
Currently, the room that Bacani is using has no dividers. She has to move the chairs and tables around to be able to accommodate the children. Since safety is a factor, the class has to squeeze a whole day’s schedule in half the time so the children can go home after their lessons before dark. Staying and playing near the damaged buildings could be dangerous.
Pre-school teacher Girlie Bacani is one of the teachers at the Nabuclod Integrated School in Floridablanca, Pampanga. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Teacher Girlie comforts a crying student. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
A chair is placed near a damaged area so children won't go inside. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Apart from teaching children, Bacani and the class also recite poems, sing songs, and pray. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Teacher Girlie shows a parent some of the the lessons that she teaches in class. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN news
Pupils rush out of class as their lessons end. Teacher Girlie crams a whole day's lesson in half the time as staying means dealing with the hazards of a construction area. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Teacher Girlie takes care of her young pupils at the Nabuclod Integrated School in Floridablanca, Pampanga. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
They recite poems, sing songs and pray at the Nabuclod Integrated School in Floridablanca, Pampanga on June 03, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Teacher Girlie leads the class in praying to “Apo Namalyari” or God the Creator.Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Damage to the buidlings and facilities of the Nabuclod Integrated School in Floridablanca, Pampanga. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
One thing that she wishes for is a kind-hearted individual that could help them.
“Tulungan po natin ang mga batang ito na masaya silang pumapasok sa school kahit po na katatapos lang po ng sakuna, hindi po nagiging hadlang sa kanila na mag-aral.”
(Lets help these children because they are still excited to come to school even if there was an earthquake, it did not stop them from going to school.)
After class, she led the children in a prayer to “Apo Namalyari” or God the Creator, thanking him for the life he gave to them and for keeping them safe as they go home.
Building new structures will take time, but even so, teacher Girlie and the rest of the teachers at the Nabuclod Integrated School will continually adjust with the help of kindhearted people who are willing to help.