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It's the second year that the classes in the Philippines are done thru learning modules and with an option to attend online classes. In other words, the kids are learning from home. I know that homeschooling is not new. I have read before that in highly urbanized cities like Manila, some private schools are offering homeschooling programs. But this is the choice of the parents. And as far as I know, the parents are trained on how to teach their children through the learning modules.
But under this New Normal caused by the covid-19 pandemic, homeschooling is the only option to help stop the spread of the deadly virus. Both the teachers and learners are forced to adapt to this sudden change.
Hello, dear readers. Maybe a few of you already know that I teach part-time for the senior high school level. I am not a teacher by profession. I have a computer engineering background and had been working in the Information Technology field for decades. But, I do love to share my knowledge, and I love to learn as well.
I was invited by my former grade school teacher to teach part-time to my alma mater four years ago. I gladly accepted the invitation. But since the pandemic started, all the subjects that are thought by part-time teachers were given to me. It was a blessing and a challenge for me at the same time.
Also, I am married to a beautiful kindergarten teacher. My wife teaches in a public school.
Anyways, in this post, I will share with you the life of the teachers in the Philippines under the New Normal.
A little disclaimer, the content of this post is based on my experience and observation as a part-time teacher. What I will share here may be different from the experience of other teachers from different places.
The first lockdown or community quarantine in our province was first implemented on March 15, 2020. Just a few days after the President declared the lockdown of Metro Manila. It was almost the end of the school year. But it was cut a few days shorter.
Suffice to say, the summer break started early and it was extended for a few months. The next school year started in August. Some schools started in September.
The first year of this new form of learning was... how can I describe it? Chaotic! I teach in a private school. Though we follow the curriculum set by the Department of Education to a certain extent, we do all the preparations. If I remember it right, July was spent on the preparation.
Everything was totally new to everyone. Even our seasoned educators and administrators had a hard time preparing the format of the learning modules. As we started to prepare the learning modules, there were changes in the format almost every week. Fortunately, the administrators decided to divide the subjects into two blocks.
August was a trial month. A very chaotic month. A couple of weeks' worth of lessons are crammed into a week worth of modules. The original plan was the two blocks would be thought of alternatively every week. Just imagine on the second week, the teachers will start checking the submitted modules while continuously creating the modules for the next week.
Then we have to prepare the presentations for the online classes. Not only that, video presentations for those who cannot join the classes online. If you take a look at YouTube, a lot of teachers became instant Vloggers.
Then the administrators decided to make it a two-week interval. The first block or Block A lessons will be taught for two weeks. and the next two weeks will be Block B. It was quite a relief.
As for the online classes. For the secondary and senior high levels, we were given two days per week for each subject. For the lower levels especially the primary, they only meet once a week for each subject.
Then came the grading. The grading system was simplified thus a bit easier to prepare compared to face-to-face learning, the problem was how to deal with learners who don't attend the online classes and did not submit the requirements. And while the teachers are checking the tests, learning modules, and other requirements, and computing for the grades, we continue to create the learning modules for the next lessons.
Since this is the second year, I could say the work has become a bit lighter. The teachers need only edit/improve the existing learning modules.
I guess it was God's work, that the school got a new directress. I forgot to mention that we are a Catholic school run by the nuns. The new directress was more concerned with the learner's psychological well fare. Instead of the two-week interval, it became monthly. The whole month now is equivalent to a whole quarter of lessons. After the fourth week, the quarterly exam is given. A win-win solution.
The teachers have less work to do each month. Thus we can focus more on how to deliver the lessons more effectively.
Under this new arrangement, some students have shown some improvements. They only have to study half the number of subjects during the exams. And they can focus more on less number of subjects.
But still, teaching face-to-face with the kids is really different.
The biggest problem in delivering online classes though is the stability of the Internet connection here in the Philippines. Sadly the biggest telecoms company here in the country is not so responsive when it comes to repairs. It's more than a week already since one of the school's fiber-optic connections was down. Up to the time of writing, they still have not fixed it.
I hope things will go back to the "old" normal next school year.