By Henry C. Lumangtad
Master Teacher I
Matab-ang National High School, Toledo City Division
THE onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced all schools in the country to switch to distance learning overnight. Even if preparations are under way, the opening of School Year 2020-2021 was delayed. However, educating the minds of the future generation must go on!
The pandemic-driven education setup has revealed that at any cost, teachers will find ways to reach out to students to deliver quality education to them. The Department of Education (DepEd) has also never failed to play its part in providing the much-needed support to its soldiers in the field. Modules were provided for reproduction, although at some point, the teacher must make his own in case nothing is given to the field. Now that is ingenuity at work! More often than not, we hear stories about teachers being the hero in this pandemic-driven education.
But wait? While so much credit has been given to our dear teachers and education officials in the field for doing an excellent job, have we taken the time to check up on our learners? How hard is it to complete eight or more modules a week?
I zeroed in on the experiences of my most familiar learners -- my nephews. I paid closer attention as they accomplish their module for the week. Trust me, it was not a walk in the park! I made several observations as they battle each day trying to learn on their own while their parents are supervising them. Save all the screaming and shouting from their parents for the later part as my nephews grow tired of learning concepts on their own. If asked about what they learned from what they are doing, you get silent treatment from them. At times, making them work on their module is a herculean task. You need to dupe them into completing their task.
But one of them seemed to forget completely about the daunting task of learning on one’s own. He shunned working on his modules. Efforts to rewarding him if he finishes the module proved futile. Later did I find out that he needs a real teacher to facilitate him in his tasks. He was not dumb at all! I He even impressed me when he was solving math problems!
To get a glimpse of our learner’s ordeal, I took crash courses online. I had to get a taste of what it is like to be a student in this time of the pandemic so I could better understand my students. To my surprise, the assignments give me headaches and stress as there were a whole lot of them. I had to leave some course works undone. The scariest part in that whole experience is meeting the deadlines for course requirements. (To date, I only got to finish one course that I enrolled in from a bunch of them!)
Now, this experience made me see my inadequacies as a teacher. It brought me to my senses the need for more instructional interventions. The Zoom meetings and home visits conducted to provide help for our learners are simply not enough. Nothing compares to face-to-face sessions!
Forcing our students to comply all eight or more modules in a week’s time is cruelty, at least to me. It is mental torture! But it is what it is! One just needs to manage his time well!
I tip my hat off to all the students and parents, guardians, or facilitators for rising above all the challenges of schooling during this time. And as the school year comes to a close you deserve the commendation for pulling it off! You truly are the heroes of this story!