Since the public and private schools opened under the new normal, the classrooms have become virtual (if at all) and learners are adjusting from the traditional face-to-face to blended learning. This new set-up puts more weight on the parents to pick up the printed lessons and to assist their young children in answering their lessons. To the high school students, it is called self-study turned into group study. The college students do total home study. These methods have their challenges this year. All have the same goal, to pass.
This article will attempt to check in on what some students and a parent have done so far under the new normal. I will begin with the college student who puts the reality of this situation in perspective.
“The Covid-19 led lockdown made schools and universities switch to online education. The transition to the virtual mode is inaccessible for all, considering that not everyone can afford gadgets and the internet. However, students, parents, and even teachers do not have a choice since the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education have pushed through with the opening of classes in public and private institutions despite the fact that the Philippines is not ready for this kind of set-up. Everyone is adjusting and adapting to digital learning. It is a challenge for teachers to keep their students motivated by providing informative yet enthusiastic video presentations. Their efforts to continue teaching amidst the pandemic are admirable. Parents are doing their best to make the resources and support that their children need for online learning suffice. Students are trying hard not to be left behind, but online education seems to be quite ineffective even with the flexible learning scheme. A survey conducted by Best Colleges.com resulted in 81 percent of students increasingly experience mental health crisis. Thousands of Twitter and Facebook posts show how stressed and anxious all levels of students are. The majority says they are always tired, drained, and absent-minded. It is for the reason that they sleep late and wake up early to finish all the schoolworks, without any opportunity to absorb the lessons and contents of the materials given to them. Nevertheless, students still submit academic requirements for the sole purpose of getting a passing remark even though they are not learning anything anymore.” — Jasmine Margarette Estrella, a 2nd year Communication student at the University of the Philippines Baguio
“I am trying to cope with the new blended education though it’s a bit difficult. Every day, I go to my aunt’s house which is about one kilometer away to have an Internet connection. I need to wake up early and maximize my time for my modules because you will need three to five hours or more just to answer one module because it needs a lot of research and help from our relatives. Sometimes, I change the time for my sleep because of lack of time.” — Mark Ron M. De Vera of Baguio City National High School
“As students, we need to wake up at the right time to be able to do each lesson. We answer the modules truthfully. Sometimes there are lessons that we don’t understand so we ask classmates and our teacher’s for help. Our situation calls for self-study which is difficult. We need the internet and use our simple phones to access the information that would help us understand our lessons. We research to find the link of videos or photos that are related to our lesson. We need to balance our time for our studies and household chores every day.”— Valerie Pocdo, Grade 9 at Apugan High School
As for the mother of three elementary pupils, Maria Carina Mustacisa, 30, says it is a challenge to teach her first grade daughter. She says that the lessons are difficult because she does know how to teach her daughter how to read. The most challenging lessons are the “mother tongue” and music. Mother Tongue is in Iloco, while she is a migrant from the Visayas. Music has songs and notes which she doesn’t know the tune of. For these, she goes to neighbors and ask for their assistance. The other children are able to read and they only ask for her help when they don’t understand the lesson. For now, she only has time to sit down with the children to do their lessons daily instead of augmenting the household income.
What used to be a teacher-focused is now a community-level education system. The reality is that the mothers or parents are now involved and learning what their children are supposed to absorb in school. The family survival is at stake because the working parents must spend time with their kids to do school work. For those who see the food on the table as more urgent, the child will need to sink or swim.
But one thing is for sure, all will have to pass. This Covid-19 time must come to pass too.