TEACHING DESPITE A PANDEMIC

NOTE: This is a non-verbatim transcript of my insights during an equity-based conversation on learning during & post-covid with my co-fellows from Teach for All network.

These were my insights to the following questions from the panel discussion:

  1. The pandemic has really pushed us to examine the purpose of schooling and what we need to prioritize when we think about enabling our students to navigate the present and the future. What are some of the needs you are seeing experienced by your students during this time?   

Answer: I was reminded by an independent report written by my good friend Jim and other global educators to the UNESCO about Thinking about Pedagogy in an Unfolding Pandemic: they wrote about MASLOW before BLOOM. This should be the norm on how we go about our learning continuity program; our government, our institutions, our schools, should look into the needs of everyone fist: the physiological needs of students and families affected by the pandemic, health and safety of everyone, job securities, and socio-emotional being & mental health. From there, we proceed to decide what are the necessary learning continuity programs should take place. The needs assessments also clearly indicate the need for equal access to technology and connectivity,  prioritizing education budget,  and the readiness of the students, parents, and teachers.

2. As a result of the pandemic, educators everywhere have needed to innovate and adapt to a ‘new normal’. How are you seeing that happen in your context or doing so in your own work, particularly in terms of leveraging technology for learning? 

Answer: Educators and school leaders are able to design their learning continuity programs in such a way that it would suit the context of the students and the resources of the community.  When we opt for online and online distance learning, we use technology to establish and maintain the learning environment.  Teachers are also using technology to reduce the loneliness and anxiety brought by this pandemic by designing learning programs and use tech tools that enable feedback and interaction. More concrete examples: Some LGU’s are handing out tablets to teachers and students. Different learning modalities such as broadcast-enabled learning through televisions and radios for far-flung areas, and learning packages for remote learning are being rolled out. One thing to note is that how teachers are also finding their own ways to leverage technology. For example, they are using Facebook messenger for interaction and communication, in fact Philippines is world leader in social media usage.

Different institutions and individuals are finding ways to be creative and resourceful, and so it is a collective effort and partnership between stakeholders to make learning successful.

3. What are some things that continue to be true for your practice of teaching and what are some that have changed as you and your students grapple with this new reality?

Answer: There is a divide, a digital divide and access to quality education even before the pandemic, and so this difficult time just widens it more. And so what remains true is that we should plan long term goals in mitigating these equity issues so we can close the gap because we don’t want our students to be left behind. As for me, it is a personal process, to be able to sustain your personal values as teachers on how you practice your teaching in a different context or learning modality. We have to understand that we are navigating through uncharted waters, we are in a storm which is the pandemic. Some of us maybe are in a yacht, some are on sturdy boats, some are on rafts, some are even clinging tightly on their logs, and some may even be just swimming around. We should work together and understand others where they are coming from.

4. As educators, what gives you hope right now and what is your vision for the education system in your contexts in light of this new learning?

Answer: I truly believe that teachers and schools should continue to have that growth mindset and grit especially in these trying times. My vision is that teachers are embracing the fact that their roles as educators are changed by the pandemic. This is a litmus test for everyone. Will we rise to the occasion and take on the challenge?  A lot of veteran and new teachers are learning apps and tech tools,  attending multiple webinars, adapting contextualized layering in their curriculum designs by creating online and offline resources to be used in their respective learning continuity programs.                       

At the end of the day, as my organization, Teach for the Philippines always say, “Education is everybody’s business” and it rings true, especially the government and the very institutions that uphold our societies in place.

Virtual bumps and high-fives to our fellows in Teach for All Network: Rachel, Archana, and Sreyleap for a fun and meaningful conversation!

I am very grateful for Teach for the Philippines, , Teach for All, Xavier School, and LearnTechAsia Conference for giving me the opportunity to be part of this equity-based conversation on learning during these trying times. June 18, 2020, I was able to share and use the lens brought about my experiences and context teaching in the public school and now in a private institution being an edtech coach and literacy advocate.

It was so nice to hear that we are not alone, that what’s happening particularly in Southeast Asia and some areas around the world resonates with our context here in the Philippines. The inequity such as digital divide and prioritization of needs are prevalent, and this pandemic widens that gap even more. But this also allows our teachers and school leaders rising up to the occasion, becoming not just educators, but navigators and frontliners of learning.

32 Comments

  1. Because of a sudden shift of education everyone must strive harder and embrace the new normal education era. Teachers are the frontliners of learning that’s why teachers must work so hard to meet the quality education.
    School and teachers must have unique continuity plans for the best learning modality for each of their students.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The insights you have shared ma’am are very true and is happening now in our present scenario. Though how challenging our work as educators, we need to do everything we can to address these and ensure that our learners receive the education they deserve in spite of the crisis we are facing.

      Like

  2. I am proud to say that despite the difficulties I encounter in my daily online classes, I’m able to still see the zest in my students to learn and still they are all hoping for the old normal schooling to resume somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very relevant,heart warming and inspiring sharing….an eye opener and a challenge as well were felt upon reading….

    Like

  4. As a public school teacher, we desire to give our best support to parents acting as ” learning facilitators” to their children. We can readily shift to the new normal way of teaching given the necessary training and mentoring programs most especially to the new ones. But, there are situations or circumstances in the lives of our learners that we cannot really do so much, like the “digital divide issue” and financial hardships their families are facing due to unemployment of their parents. Maybe, the government can also give incentives in the form of “rice ration” or other basic needs when they pick or return their modules or activity sheets in school. At this trying times, most families ultimate concern is the “food on their table” and that education is not something they need most at the moment. A lot of parents are not so cooperative with teachers, they say whether it is modular or online learning it is still a great burden on their part. So, families like this will just be compelled to cooperate if they will get something monetary or anything in kind.

    Like

    1. Well said, Ma”am My.. In line with has been stated in the write-up, “Education is everybody’s business.. We may have the biggest part in the process but we cannot be enough without the help of the government and other institutions.

      Like

    2. Well said, Ma’am My. In line with what has been stated in the write-up, “Education is everybody’s business”, we may have the biggest part in the process, but we cannot be enough without the help of the government and other institution.

      Like

  5. We are living amidst what is potentially one of the greatest threats in our lifetime to global education, a gigantic educational crisis. COVID 19 pandemic is causing youth to be out of school. We were already experiencing a global leaning crisis, as many students were in school, but were not learning the fundamental skills needed for life. The mission of all education systems is the same. It is to overcome the learning crisis we were already living and respond to the pandemic we are all facing. The challenge today is to reduce as much as possible the negative impact this pandemic will have on learning and schooling and build on this experience to get back on a path of faster improvement in learning. As education systems cope with this crisis, they must also be thinking of how they can recover stronger, with a renewed sense of responsibility of all share holders of the school including administrators and with a better understanding and sense of urgency of the need to close the gap in opportunities and assuring that all children have the same chances for a quality education.

    Like

  6. Educators gives Hope. It is truly in the hands of the teacher how will she make her pupil dream more of a better life a head of them despite of the pandemic.

    Like

  7. I am very grateful to participate in this webinar.Hoping to consolidate some ideas and techniqies as my additional tools to improve my teaching profession.

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  8. Education is a continouos process. It must be strengthen esp now that is pandemic. Its hard, but in the end we should face it with courage and determination to teach and inform our learners.

    Like

  9. The educational reforms which always consider the fair opportunities for all learners is indeed challenging in this trying times both in the part of parents which serves as learning partners of teachers, and the educators in general. Factors indicates connections, gadgets and the learning modalities that are very new to the young. However, education must continue for the future and welfare of this generation to provide them quality learning.

    Like

  10. Teachers’ goal is to teach and to touch other lives. It is really our desire to educate every learner. Even in this time of pandemic we cannot stop the learning’s of our learners. So we should embrace change. Although it’s a big challenge to all of us but we should face it with courage and determination to teach and inform our learners.

    Like

  11. we live in a world that safety is now the priority and not education. it is very challenging and we woke up everyday wondering if our learners learning? are we still touching their lives? in spite this, we must not lose hope. we need to be flexible and us on ourselves must be resourceful. it is hard but very fulfilling. hoping one day this will all pass and we learn from our shortcomings and plan for it better someday and be prepared always.

    Like

  12. Learning is a continuous process,and Education must be continue despite the pandemic. We must accept challenges in order for us to grow and embrace the change in every situation.

    Like

  13. We teachers are flexible enough to adjust in every situations that we are in. This pandemic is just a living proof that no matter what will happen education must continue.

    Like

  14. I envisioned Educators nowadays as wanderers trapped in a desert. Seeing nothing but the sand and nudity of its surroundings. Keeping their strength with a little personal resources at hand. Willfully taking every hopeful step just to uphold the mandate of Dep Ed, “EDUCATION must continue!” So were here, reaching out our students to continue our journey and fulfill their dreams …

    Like

  15. No matter what happened eventhough in this darkest time we will continue what we started because,we teachers are the
    fountain of information and we will find ways to be creative and resourceful to continue to educate our learners

    Like

  16. No matter what happened eventhough in this darkest time we will continue what we started because,we teachers are the
    fountain of information and we will find ways to be creative and resourceful to continue to educate our learners

    Like

  17. I want to widen my knowledge in teaching regarding our situation today of what we call new normal. I hope that this training will really help me to improve my skills in teaching children.

    Like

  18. I am very much eager to learn more to upgrade and improve my abilities in teaching especially in this time of pandemicin order to deliver good education to my pupils.

    Like

  19. Well said po. Thank you for sharing ideas and informations and indeed it is very useful in this time of pandemic. God bless.

    Like

  20. Teachers play a vital role in the continuity of delivering the goods to their learners, hence considering teachers’ mental health, capacity and readiness in executing lessons in this different type of learning scenario is very important. Parents and learners socio economic condition, mental health and other important factors must also be taken into consideration as we all continue to provide education to the learners amidst this new and very challenging time.

    Like

  21. Very truly ma’am, in this time of pandemic teachers should be brave and courageous to take their part in imparting knowledge to their students.

    Like

  22. The onset of COVID-19 pandemic compelled educators to be frontliners for the continuity of education. As we equip ourselves with multiple trainings to innovate more skills to thrive in the so called”Emergency in Education”, the challenges are truly everywhere and we need to be vigilant and persistently adapt and adopt to be victorious in giving our learners the best education that they deserved. Likewise, partnerships and collaboration among other sectors such as school, home and the government would make us more victorious in our struggle against this difficult times.

    Like

  23. Education is very important,that is why as a teacher we need to upgrade our teaching stratigies and techniques.

    Like

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