Volume 19 Digital Issue
QUALITY TEACHER ASKS:
“What is the biggest challenge your school encountered during the pandemic and how did you overcome it?”
During the recently concluded Diwa 5G Experience, a series of compact learning sessions that happened from November 2021 to March 2022, Diwa Learning Systems Inc asked educators and school leaders, “What is the biggest challenge your school encountered during the pandemic and how did you overcome it?”
Here are the five most insightful responses:
The biggest challenge that we experienced during this pandemic happened only recently when many of our students got sick. Their parents informed us and asked for excuses for their children. Despite their illnesses, some of them tried to attend their classes off-cam. Some of our teachers got sick too but a few tried teaching even if they were not feeling well.
We promptly conducted a survey to guide us on what proper steps to take. Upon knowing the survey results, the top administrators came up with the decision to declare a week-long health break for classes in all levels from January 10-15. All offices were closed too. However, online transactions of offices were accommodated.
—Dr. Leonila D. Sese, School Head, Divine Light Academy
The biggest problems we had before were:
1. The internet connection. We are aware that we cannot deliver quality education online if our internet connection is not stable. To solve this issue, we upgraded our internet provider so that we can deliver lessons without the fear of losing internet connection in the middle of discussions.
2. The honesty of students in online assessment. Are they really the ones who answered the evaluations we gave? Did they really understand the lessons that we discussed? For this issue, before our formal classes started, we talked to parents to emphasize that we need their help in allowing their kids to learn and answer assessments on their own. It is important to teach students that it's okay to get a lower score rather than get higher scores by cheating. We also have asynchronous lessons for students who are having difficulty in class.
—Jenalyn Mistica, Teacher, Little Ones Development Foundation Inc.
One of the challenges that we encountered was the transition. We all experienced the drastic change from face-to-face to virtual classes. Transitions have always been difficult for all of us in nature. Students, parents, and teachers were all anxious during the process. There were many things needed for the transition like educating both students and teachers. Thankfully, there are webinars available online to assist all of us in the process. Next, the school provided laptop loans and internet allowances to assist the faculty and assure the parents that we can deliver excellent education for our students. Currently, we are still holding webinars for both teachers and students. We also ensure that we are not just after delivering quality education amidst the pandemic but also securing everyone's welfare by providing mental health breaks to promote school-life balance. Above all, trust God with the process.
—Maria Darin Tagbago, Lead Teacher, GCF South Metro Christian School
IN THIS ISSUE
Three school leaders share how they were able to successfully navigate their schools through disruption to ensure learning continuity for their stakeholders.
Reinventing Education: Stories of Survival and Success Amid a Disruption
Reinventing Education: Stories of Survival and Success Amid a Disruption
The biggest challenges our school encountered during the pandemic were how to continue as an educational institution, how to provide the same quality education our students need without having to meet them physically, and how to provide materials and programs that will enable the students to have the best learning experience. Overcoming them was not an easy road for all of us but I am very proud to say that our passion and dedication pushed us to maximize what we have and adapt to the situation. We switched to distance learning and aligned our curriculum to this setup. We knew nothing about video creation and editing but with the goal of providing various and exciting activities, we learned how to make video lessons for our students. We came up with the idea of giving out complete sets of materials monthly to ensure student engagement and to lessen the load of parents since everything has already been provided.
Discipline and keeping the students engaged during live Zoom classes were also a challenge. To address this, we made sure to make the most creative materials. Giving the students personalized rewards and star slides also creates a strong teacher-student connection and keeps them motivated and have something to look forward to. But as the saying goes, “The teacher is the best learning material.” We make sure to give our best during live classes in terms of energy and interaction. Our deepest whys, passion, and love for what we do helped us overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
—Marlyn Salutan, Teacher, Mindbuilders Preschool
All the challenges that this pandemic has brought to our school began when teachers and the whole school community were suddenly pushed to consider how technology could be used to keep learners safe and engaged in online education. Initially, the biggest challenge was the HOW—how can we make our learners enjoy our quality online program and still bring out the best in each learner despite the limitations of an online setup? We believe that if this is addressed first and is properly communicated to our parents and the families in the community, an increase in enrollment will follow. And so it did! Surprisingly, we had an increase in the number of enrollees during the pandemic, with God's grace and guidance.
One of the first steps that we took was to ensure that we have a dynamic and well-thought-out curriculum that can only be delivered through very creative online teaching methods. With this, we must prepare our teachers, not only in the effective delivery of instructions and the proper use of technology. Beyond that and more important than that are the emotional and mental preparedness that school administrators must equip the teachers and staff with, as well as the safety and health of everyone in school. As we continually work on this area, as teachers and staff are being taken care of, everything else follows. No teacher can deliver his or her best, in a very new and challenging setup if he or she is not emotionally supported through a proper balance of teaching load. As teachers and staff transfer the positive energy to the students, to the parents, and to the whole community, it's the parents themselves who feel happy in the online school environment and they spread this experience to their relatives and friends. We have come to a point wherein our parents and families themselves are the ones marketing our school as they post and share their children's positive experiences and worth-it education at Schola de Vita.
I believe that there is no single solution for these pandemic challenges. We all can thrive and it is a gradual process that we have to fully embrace, one step at a time. All other problems can be solved, but the lives and health of our teachers and staff, our students and their families must always come first.
—Meg Aquino-Cuenca, Directress, Schola de Vita