by Geraldin L. Taroballes, JMNHS
Uncertainty, joblessness, panic, anxiety, hunger, discomfort, and depression. These are the words that one can immediately think about if we talk about the pandemic- the COVID 19. Many things have changed from the widespread of this disease. There is now limitation in mobility such as having a smaller number of public vehicles that cater large number of commuters. People need to walk for hours just to go to work as mass public transport was suspended. Job security is under attack specially those working in entertainment and recreation industries, food and hotel industries as well as those who are involved in the construction sectors. People who used to earn daily need to depend on the government for monetary assistance and the list goes on and on.
With the incoming school year, teachers, parents, and learners need to face the reality that almost nothing is going back to normal unless a vaccine will be developed and utilized. However, education is a basic human right and despite the pandemic, no one must be left behind. With many Filipinos who are below the poverty line and who were badly afflicted by this phenomenon, will they be able to avail quality education?
This article wishes to share some thoughts on how teachers, parents, and learners can positively deal with the pandemic.
For the Parents
Be open with new opportunities. It is sad to say that the pandemic has affected almost all kinds of trade. Workers involved in land, air and sea transportation, food and tourism industry and the like are all affected by the pandemic. The once secure source of income has dried up with no other available means as source of living. This is the time that the affected parents can be more innovative in finding other ways to earn a living. They might resort to online selling, selling goods or selling barbecue in stalls and the like.
Learn how to “teach”. Parents have become busy with finding food for the hungry stomachs of their children. Sometimes, they have forgotten about other responsibility such as monitoring their children’s academic status. It is the high time to learn how to “teach” their own children as the Department of Education is going full blown to online and modular modes of delivery.
For the Learners
Be more responsible. Learners usually joke around and say that they like going to school because they get to have their “baon.” With this pandemic, learners may level up and be more responsible when it comes to learning as they need to read through the whole text without the usual guidance of a teacher in a face-to-face scenario. They can independently follow schedules regularly and not make an excuse that their schoolwork can be done haphazardly because of the absence of a teacher.
For the Teachers
Be flexible. Old dogs are hard to teach, they say. However, this does not exempt Generation Z and the millennial teachers as they could also become stubborn when it comes to accepting new things from the Department of Education. They should have an open mindset when it comes to change.
Learn continuously. The online mode of delivery is not usual in the Philippine setting. Thus, there are numerous technical things that need to be learned especially if we deal with distance and/or online teaching and learning. With less than two months before the opening of class, teachers can spend their time wisely and productively in learning the craft.
For the Teachers, Parents, and Learners
Pray. There is nothing more powerful than prayer. God is in control and He knows what is best for everyone. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11
The challenges brought about by the pandemic is different to each person and each family. Some are blessed to be at the comfort of their homes watching Netflix while other families struggle to even feed themselves a decent meal because of the loss of income. No one is exempted from the ill effects of COVID-19. Let us just hope and pray and work together as one Filipino nation in winning the war against the invisible enemy.
LALICE JOY J. ARQUINTILLO
Head Teacher III, Filipino
Jalandoni Memorial National High School
They say time, money and energy cannot be enjoyed by an individual at the same time. A young person can have both energy and time but not money. A young adult can have both energy and money but not time. An elderly person can have both time and money but not energy.
With the passage of House Bill Number 5509 on its third and final reading in the House Representatives, the lowering of the Optional Retirement Age from 60 to 56 of government workers is timely especially for teachers. Here are the top reasons why this bill should approve by the House of Senate as well.
One of the skills being honed by the K to 12 curriculum is to produce technologically literate learners. A teacher near his or her retirement age might not be skilled in the digital aspects. Thus, difficult for an old dog to learn new tricks. It is possible that despite the requirements needed by teachers in this digital era, teachers no longer have the drive to learn new skills.
Teaching is a great and noble profession that is done out of pure service and not merely monetary rewards. With these points, it is a pressing issue that the retirement age be lowered from 60-56. With their early retirement, teacher can still have time, money, and energy.
Comparing the Mathematics Learners of Then and Now
by Geraldin Lope Taroballes
I was born as a Millennial with Baby Boomers who served as my teachers. Now, I am a Millennial who serve as teacher for the Generation Z. As I almost reach fifteen years of my experience as a Mathematics teacher in a public high school in Iloilo City, I sometimes ponder on the difficulties I meet as a teacher in Mathematics.
There are instances when I feel exasperated when I face mathematically challenged learners. There are instances when I expect my learners to have mastered specific competencies yet I get concerned with their lacking Mathematics fundamentals such as the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
With these observations, I tend to compare and contrast the Mathematics learners of then and now. Here are some points that I have observed when it comes to my learners.
1. Technology. The Mathematics learners of now were born with a cellphone in their hand while the Mathematics learners of then have just experienced technology while growing up. The former are digital natives while the latter are digital immigrants. In the advent of the world wide web and social media, it is a challenge for teachers to compete and maintain a high level of interest when learners are distracted with technology. This might be considered a challenge for teachers. However, learners are so in tuned with YouTube that some seek their answers by watching problem solving videos. Technology can both be a pain or gain depending on the situation.
The learners of then were mostly independent of technology. Students can only use calculators during Stoichiometry in Chemistry or Kinematics in Physics or Trigonometry in Mathematics. Compared with the trend today, learners can literally use different softwares when it comes to solving Mathematics problems.
However, as I have observed, I sometimes wonder why some of my learners cannot seem to grasp the basics of Mathematics that they should have learned while in elementary.
2. The Mathematics learners of then were disciplined compared to the Mathematics learners of now. I remember when my Mathematics teacher in elementary used to just look and signal my rowdy classmates to settle down and keep quiet. These days, it takes a huge amount of currency called patience to be withdrawn from the bank of ethics. There are days when I had been tempted to lash my learners but am glad that I always keep my temper in check as temporal punishment is no longer allowed in this present generation. Sometimes, I wonder if the misbehavior of students is a direct consequence of faulty laws that sometimes could be labeled as not-so-teacher friendly.
There are still many points that make the Mathematics learners of then different from the Mathematics learners of now. Despite all the challenges that I face, I always remember that the goal of education is to make a change in the lives of the learners. Whether a learner is a Millennial or a Generation Z, it is hoped that their lives will be changed as I share with them the beauty and significance of Mathematics.