November 27, 2022

The school years 2020 to 2021 brought out the strengths and weaknesses in the educational system as both the public and private schools shifted from traditional classroom teaching to home-based instruction and online academic interactions. From the trial and error the educators and leaders have resorted and learned from, a lot is still required in terms of adapting to the constant change brought about by the pandemic.
The educators and learners had to embrace the fact that there is no chance of going back to the old system as the new normal usher adjustments that everyone had to accept. As such, those involved in educating the learner had to be creative and innovative in their ways.
The pandemic brought out the strengths and weaknesses of the education system, not only in term of the skills of its human resources, but also in areas involving technology and school resources. In the Department of Education-Cordillera alone, series of professional development programs and courses were provided to teachers, learners, and parents.
The Covid-19 took the world by surprise in its advent in 2020 and it keeps increasing the limitations in the educational system as variants crept up in different countries to the different parts of the world. Every change in the health protocols brought about changes in the educational system and among the skills required of educators and learners.
Evaluation from these professional development programs and courses provided feedback from participants requiring further technical assistance and friendlier platforms for them. Listening to them via the online platforms brought a realization on my part being a facilitator and speaker the feeling of empathy. The realization hit home with the fact that educators and leaders may have assumed that everyone is equally able and capable in this new normal in the education system. With it came a string of resignations, suicide stories, and depression moments.
Being in the shoe of these learners or even as a colleague in the education system, we experience one way or another the feeling of helplessness and frustrations. Learners feel these. Teachers feel these. So, leaders should also feel these.
As such, leaders in the education system should adopt the role of being an adaptive mentor. As an adaptive mentor, the leader must take the stand to direct their colleagues and the learners to actions that they should take or avoid in relation to the limitations of the pandemic. This would ensure that the goal will still be met. The adaptive mentor must take into consideration diversity, inclusion, and equity. Diversity, meaning, understanding the differences among the employees and learners through profiling their abilities and capabilities, their strengths and areas for improvement, and their available resources. Inclusion would mean understanding the need for these differences to be acknowledged, but at the same time giving them the room to voice out their uniqueness by letting them be heard. And equity would mean providing them the required avenues to grow and resources to develop, and through adapting to what they can still be with provision of mentorship and opportunity.
Unfortunately, more had taken the role of a critique who constantly highlights on the mistakes and never could learn the skill of being empathetic. And if these educators and leaders would still take this kind of stance, then we are no different with the cancel culture thriving among the online influencers.
Educators and leaders of the education system should take this challenge of the pandemic to be more humane, not merely being human. We need people who will work together to educate the child to be highly adaptive to the challenging situations without having to forget his or her social and emotional prowess. Intelligence flows freely after. (DEXTER B. ANDRES)