March 23, 2023

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt life, a lot of families struggle in all aspects.
Among those greatly affected is education. Many feel that the remote school setup now is inappropriate. Whether modular, online, or blended learning, not all parents and students are pleased with the current situation.
A survey by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Institute showed nearly five out of 10 Philippine households have children not attending school due to the pandemic. The ADB study said 46 percent of the respondents have children not attending school due to the health crisis. An ADB official blamed the Philippines’ Internet connectivity problems and lack of affordable gadgets for the poor participation in schools.
Indeed, it can be daunting as we adjust to the new normal. As the pandemic snatched away some pivotal experiences and robbed us, especially our children, a season of our lives, it has caused us some mental and emotional agonies.
The role of parents, as well as teachers, cannot be overemphasized. Parents should respond with empathy and look at the situation from their kid’s point of view, even if they don’t agree with their child. Acknowledge how they feel and point out the positive in the situation. The parents’ attitude sets the stage about how children should feel or view the world. Children are always looking, watching, and listening for guidance and direction from their parents. If parents are positive then the positivity rubs off on their children and will help kids regulate their emotions and mindset.
As classes resumed this year, let us bear in mind there are several other important aspects about school besides reading and math. The pandemic has affected all of us, but it has more devastating effects to some children. The increased stress, uncertainty, unstructured time, and lessened connection with the school and their teachers upend life for many children who rely on these people, settings, and social interactions for their development.
Teachers for the most part can help balance students’ mental and emotional loads by making their teaching more casual and lighthearted. Teachers may use hopeful and optimistic language, such as “When you come back to school…” which will help students look forward to coming back to the campus. Teachers can guide students through uncertainties by humanizing themselves; and consider creating a community discussion board for them to share what is happening in their lives, given the stress, fear, and strains in these uncertain times.
Let your students know that you are there for them and that if they need help to reach out to you. Let them know that you are in touch with counselors or mental health experts that can help them should they need to speak to someone. Most essentially, ask each of your students how you can help them.
Persian poet Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Similarly, in times of uncertainty and unknowing, we can create a space where our students’ voice and insights can illuminate the path we are carving out for them. –Rose Marie C. Vinluan