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Challenges encountered in teaching science of jhs and shs science teachers at Salvacion National High School

By Sheila A. Benosa

The act of teaching in itself has always been a huge challenge for educators not just in the past years but also in the new generation. Bringing fresh knowledge and a new set of learning to students is indeed a pile of work added up with preparing instructional materials, interactive devices of learning, and comprehensive lesson plans. Teaching is truly a challenge but a vocation for some as well. Generally, this profession takes up much more of people’s energy and focus than other jobs in the industry (Gomez, 2022). It does not only consume lots of time and effort, but induces more stress and anxiety in the long run as well. This stress and challenge could be applied in all courses of learning and fields of teaching but is more prevalent in science teachers. Compared to different fields of study, scientific education explores more subtopics and branches which includes Biology, Earth Science, Earth and Life Science, Science and Technology, Chemistry, Physics, and many other branches to be named. Being a science teacher requires patience and real competency in the course of study.

In the past years, it has been proven that teachers have faced more stress and challenges due to the need for students’ affirmation and response (Jones, 2006). Recently, students’ attention span has been decreasing. They have become more prone to distraction than being focused on learning solely (Geri, 2017). Due to this fact, teaching was made more challenging because teachers have to think of a way to catch their students’ interest and attention to the topic. This was proven by the book written by Graham A. Jones entitled, “Challenges for teaching and Learning.” He explored the art of teaching and the different trends that caused challenges to educators. He named some like institutional inadequacy of resources, personal circumstances, and above all, he highlighted the deteriorating attention span of students. That factor has been one of the numerous trends as to how challenging being an educator is. In the field of Science, students’ usually lack interest in the field because of the unfamiliar terminologies and very profound topics in the field. Therefore, the challenge to science teachers is indeed heightened.

Another factor that professionals and researchers are eyeing in this matter is the recent outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Education for Teaching, an international peer-reviewed group for professional educators, findings showed that the pandemic caused both opportunity and challenge to teachers. In their research paper released last 2020 entitled, “Opportunities and challenges: teacher education in Israel in the Covid-19 pandemic,” they entailed the wide topic of the sector of education and its correlation with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. As stated in their course of study, the outbreak of COVID-19 has paved the way for a more flexible mode of learning. Upon looking at the situation in a positive retrospective, a room for change and adaptation has been opened. Teachers can work in the comfort of their homes without having to commute long rides just to get to school. They can also wake up a little bit earlier than their time of schedule and not wake up 5 to 6 hours earlier than their class sessions. Also, educators could have a side hustle during the pandemic since the hours of classes are flexible. These are just some of the positive things that the COVID-19 caused to teachers during the surge of lockdown.

However, there were also challenges faced by these educators. One of these challenges is preparing interactive materials that would engage students in learning. Since the mode of learning is online, the prevalence of students being more distracted with other social media applications or even their surroundings is higher than in the face-to-face mode of learning. This has been a challenge for teachers to create activities that would surely engage their students and avoid them from getting distracted by other matters. Specifically, in the field of science, getting the students’ engagement and interaction in the class has always been a challenge. It is definitely hard for teachers to demonstrate body parts, chemical components, and other scientific knowledge to students in the light of blended learning. Therefore, science teachers have to put extra effort in creating instructional materials that are highly comprehensible and activities that would both educate and demonstrate the lessons properly to their students.

Lastly, one of the most prevailing factors that challenged teachers generally and even science teachers is the low salary of most educators especially in the Philippines. The minimum salary of public school teachers in the Philippines is 15,000 pesos per month (Let Passer, 2022). Upon costing the basic necessities of an average Filipino person as well as the recreational needs and bills, 15,000 a month is totally inadequate to live by. Additionally, in order for teachers to bring high quality education for their students, they have to prepare learning materials and visual aids which will cost them almost 5,000 pesos a month. Truth to be told, no matter how much effort and energy teachers exert in their vocation and profession, if their salary will be inadequate to sustain all their survival needs and financial needs to survive, the passion and willpower will burn out. In a study conducted by Robert E. Rowsey entitled, “Perceptions of Teachers’ Salaries and Non-Salary Benefits,” it is proven that among all other professions in the industry, teachers are definitely one of the professionals who are more challenged and are required to perform more than their limit but are also underpaid. This is a sad reality that most of the teachers are coping with because of the rising needs of humanity for basic and quality education.

As educators, we must constantly be inspired in order to engage students, successfully connect with them, and impart knowledge. We must also serve as an inspiration to our students and leave a lasting impression on their life. “Love your calling with a passion.” Passion is not something that happens overnight, but rather something that develops over time through experience, study, and hard work. If you want to be successful at anything in life, then you must be willing to sacrifice everything for it because without sacrifice there can be no success; without success there can be no future; without a future there can be no happiness; without happiness there can be no meaning in life; without meaning in life there can be no purpose; without purpose there can being no motivation which leads us back down again into darkness where we feel alone.


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