No Teachers Left Behind
COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the most essential sector in the industry — education. This led to the closure of public and private educational institutions and left a struggle on a critical question of whether classes should resume or not in an online learning environment.
Vital and playing a critical role in the economy, education is not something that can be easily set aside and postponed. With less to no preparation at all, both teachers and students have taken the challenge to continue teaching and learning through numerous online platforms during a pandemic.
The pandemic has stressed the weaknesses and inadequacy of different education systems and this eventually led to putting educators in a vulnerable state.
What is it like to be a teacher during a pandemic?
“Lisod kaayo. I don’t think we are appreciated and properly compensated for our efforts. Maluoy pud mi sa amoang mga students nga dili ka afford ug join sa amoang mga online class tungod kay wala sila’y mga gadgets. This situation pains me the most aside sa kami pud as teachers, we have problems and challenges na amoa ginaovercome.”
Translation: “It’s very hard. I don’t think we are appreciated and properly compensated for our efforts. We also feel for our students who cannot afford to join our online classes because they don’t have the means. This situation pains me the most aside as being a teacher, we also have problems and challenges we are trying to overcome.” — MR. REYNES, JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL ECONOMICS TEACHER
In many cases and in attempt to get a better support, teachers have voiced out not only theirs but their students’ struggles as the education sector shifted to online learning.
Whereas the government may have responded to this call and provided support to the teaching force and in their efforts to continue teaching amidst a pandemic, this was not enough to guarantee that no teacher will be left behind.
Do you feel like you are getting left behind?
“Sa akoa lang, when we see that our students are getting left behind in this current learning setup, as a teacher, I also feel I am getting left behind and that my efforts are not enough to make sure we are all in the same page. We are doing our best to deliver as teachers but it pains us when our students are not able to catch up.”
Translation: “For me, when we see that our students are getting left behind in this current learning setup, as a teacher, I also feel I am getting left behind and that my efforts are not enough to make sure we are all in the same page. We are doing our best to deliver as teachers but it pains us when our students are not able to catch up.” — MR. REYNES, JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL ECONOMICS TEACHER
From dealing with a new learning environment, redefining course outlines, looking for the most suitable learning tool to use in class discussions and making sure that all students are within the same page of learning, teachers are forced to work long hours and sacrifice personal matters along the way.
But imagine this — that’s not the only thing they have to deal with!
Aside from other factors, technology has also been proven to put the teaching force into a challenge and often becomes a blocker for them to move forward.
True, teaching is rewarding and to know that you are guiding an individual towards the correct path even amidst a pandemic is motivating but we can’t deny the fact that teachers are also exhausted.
How are you overcoming the struggles you are facing in online teaching?
“Daghan ko ug wala nahibaw an ug unsaon pagtackle aning mga online platforms, kaning Zoom and Google Classroom. Pero sa ana nga cases, moreach out gyud ko sa akoang co-teachers for their help and ask for their inputs ug unsa ang akoang pwede pa buhaton. I also ask my students for help and magtinabangay nalang pud mi ug figure out ug unsaon. It’s a fun learning experience pud.”
Translation: “There’s a lot of things that I don’t know when it comes to tackling online platforms, like Zoom and Google Classroom. But in those cases, I reach out to my co-teachers for their help and ask for their inputs as to what I can do. I also ask my students for help and we figure it out together. It’s a fun learning experience too.” — MR. REYNES, JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL ECONOMICS TEACHER
Overcoming struggles and challenges may differ for each person and you may have a different way to cope with the uncertainties you are facing in this new learning environment.
And that’s totally okay! We recharge and reset in different ways!
To help you overcome the struggles you are facing right now, here are some tips to make your teaching experience during a pandemic less hectic and more enjoyable.
TEACHERS ARE STRONGER TOGETHER
At times of overcoming struggles and challenges, teachers find strength in asking for their co-teachers for help when it comes to learning materials and even technology. Social media has been the platform for teachers to connect with one another and share their tips and tricks when it comes to teaching in an online learning environment.
It has also been a way for teachers to ask one another how things are going and share their experiences as well. This becomes not only an outlet of information but also as a form of socializing with other teachers — making a space to reset and boost emotional connections.
The pandemic has intensified the involvement of parents in their children’s education and as parents and teachers have to interact more, communication plays a vital role in making sure each party understands one another.
In the current learning setup, building a relationship with parents can bring advantages to the table. As an educator, you can tap your student’s parents for help by asking them how the student is doing at home and if they are having difficulties learning things on their own.
In return, giving feedbacks and providing student report on performance are easier to do as you have built a relationship where communicating is not a problem. And don’t forget to thank the parents for their efforts as well!
SETTING TO DO AND SCHEDULES
Sometimes, things will go out of hand and you’d feel like you’re running out of time with the number of classes you have to deal with and the activities you’ll have to look into. Thinking of the amount of work you’ll have to do can result to stress and distraction.
As simple as a To Do list and setting schedule can help keep things in check and aligned with your timeline. This will help you save time and create a structure of your teaching routine. This also helps in setting a boundary between your work and personal time.
When we see a number of things to do, we often forgo and sacrifice our personal matters to get things done and this brings negative effects into your wellbeing. By setting To Do lists and schedules, you are also taking care of yourself from overworking and burning too much midnight oil.
DON’T FORGET YOUR “ME TIME”
The best way to overcome a challenge is to make sure you have a clear mind a fresh start. Taking time to reset and relax plays a vital role when you deal with problems and challenges. With a clear mind and fresh perspective, you are able to make sound decisions and give your 100% best once again.
“Me time” can also mean recharging your “teacher perspective” and reminding yourself why you became a teacher and what makes it rewarding.
COVID-19 has challenged all teachers’ resolve for teaching and how far their passion to teach can take them. Not all struggles can be fought and won alone and in this fight to provide quality education in a new learning environment, teachers need more support not only from the government but from co-teachers, students and their parents as well.
No one — not a teacher, not a student — will be left behind if all will work and support one another and during these tough times, a simple “Thank you for what you do!” can keep a teacher’s fire burning.
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