We Asked a Public School Teacher About How They're *Really* Coping in the New Normal
The way education is accessed nowadays has shifted to different means, and it’s taking a considerable amount of time and effort for students and teachers alike to adjust to the changes. Private schools may each have their own approach to education’s “new normal,” but public schools abide by Department of Education’s protocols. We got to talk to a public school teacher to share how students, teachers, and even parents are dealing with studying from home.
Shirley F. Leviste is a faculty member at Las Pinas National High School where she teaches Math to Grade 7 students. Leviste shares that learning in public schools is modular, but STEM and section 1 students have online sessions once a week coupled with modular learning.
In modular learning, modules and worksheets for all subjects are prepared and printed beforehand. The modules prepared are good enough for four weeks. Parents just need to pick them up in school at a designated date. After a month, they will have to drop off the answered worksheets for all subjects in school for teachers to grade them. Parents are informed of the entire process through an orientation beforehand.
Parents become teachers at home
Because learning is largely based on the self-paced reading of modules, Leviste shares that a huge part of making remote learning work for students is the active involvement of parents. “Malaki ang participation ng mga parents sa pagtulong sa pag-aaral ng mga bata,” she shares. “Sila ngayon ang tatayong mga teachers.”
It’s easier said than done, however, as most parents turn to the teachers with various concerns, including being busy with work or feeling clueless themselves regarding the contents of the modules. To address these concerns, Leviste shares that teachers and parents have a group chat on social media where they could correspond regarding any clarifications or questions about the lessons.
Seeing as this is the first time such a setting has been implemented, parents also have a slew of questions that are crucial in deciding to enroll their children during the new school year. Some are wary of how their children's grades will be affected if they don't have access to internet, to the point of considering deferring their enrollment to a later time. Leviste assures that participation of students in the online sessions is also not compulsory and won't affect the grades of the students. Students' academic performance will solely be based on the scores they obtain from the worksheets provided.
Some teachers have to rely on their own resources
Students are not the only one suffering the brunt of remote learning. Teachers have also had to adjust and prepare accordingly to ensure that students adapt to the new process smoothly. Leviste shares that teachers had to individually prepare the necessary modules and film video recordings of lessons which would serve as the primary learning material of students for all their subjects. Some faculty members have also collaborated on video presentations as an additional learning material.
Every subject also requires its own approach. When it comes to Math, for example, Leviste shares that teachers make sure the modules would have everything the student needs to understand the lessons. “Doon sa modules meron na siyang mga examples, explanation of the solutions, and practice exercises.” For other subjects like Filipino and Science, the books also stand as a significant source of learning material, especially when it comes to terms and definitions of concepts.
Unfortunately, not all cities provide the same kind of resources to public school teachers when it comes to remote learning. Some cities have yet to deliver the necessary gadgets to teachers. "As of now the school division of Paranaque has not delivered the gadgets yet. So hanggang ngayon we are still using our own gadgets and Wi-Fi. Swerte nga po meron kaming laptop at wifi. Yung ibang co-teacher ko nagpapa-load lagi sa phone."
Instead, teachers just choose to get creative and make use of what's available to them at the moment and figure it out themselves. "Siyempre, ang teachers maparaan," Leviste remarks. For instance, some resort to using their phones for online classes. Others borrow the laptop of their children when they're not participating in their own online classes. They also enlist the help of their children when it comes to maneuvering around technology, like filming videos and making PowerPoint presentations.
Team work makes the dream work
Because education's new normal requires a learning curve for everyone, Leviste emphasizes that it would take the cooperation among students, teachers, and parents for modular learning to be successful.
For her, students need to be disciplined enough to stay off from distractions like Facebook or TikTok during the time allotted for learning. Parents also have to be willing to sacrifice some time to assist their children's education from time to time.
Leviste reiterates that team work between faculty members and parents is crucial, they just have to be willing to devote some time to making it work. "'Pag gusto naman may paraan," she says.
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