OPINION: Jack of all trades

Teaching is considered a complex and many-sided task, said Lardizabal (1999). A teacher is expected to perform many tasks inside or outside the classroom – facilitator, manager, disciplinarian, counselor, caregiver, referee and often a close friend.

It has been said that a teacher is considered jack of all trades who does not master any. Do you agree with this? Take a closer look at the work of a multigrade teacher assigned in a far-flung area. One that teaches two or three grade levels, all at one room setting, providing the children with different concepts, intelligences and skills. Do you still consider this kind of teacher, unmastered of what he or she is doing?  I strongly disagree!

Being a multigrade teacher is a huge challenge. Imagine you are one of them, would you survive?
In the first stretch, you are to travel in a remote place where 27 or more pupils enrolled in a different grade levels are waiting for your arrival. The school is one or five kilometers away from downtown and is reach by a motorcycle when the weather is good or by foot when raining. This will immediately followed by managing their behavior once these children enter the classroom. Next is the most critical stage. It’s time to teach them with perhaps the same subject matter but of different level of thinking. Take note, procedures are strictly followed like you are teaching a mono class. The mere thought of facilitating these children like this makes me wonder.  The challenge does not end here, have I told you that your pupils belong to poor families? You have to be creative and resourceful, some of them lack school materials, allowance and worst have not eaten    breakfast. How can you handle that? Let me remind you also that you have to use teaching aid or devices to facilitate instruction appropriate with each grade level. Make sure that they will learn. Then, you have pending reports to be submitted in the Division Office. Deadline is near, do them ASAP! Finally, the last part of the challenge, the most favored one, dismissal of you classes. Of course, you still have to travel the same distance from school going back to your home. Opps, wait! I almost forget that you have to prepare your different lessons, activities and evaluations tonight. End.

Would you survive?

Hail the multigrade teachers! Hail the teachers! Indeed, they are jacks of all trades! I salute their dedication in molding young minds and personalities who are technically far from us by distance.

Lardizabal, Amparo S., et al. Principles and Methods of Teaching. Quezon City, Philippines: Phoenix Publishing House, Inc., 1999

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