School leaders are empowered by the agency to potentially manage a school and its resources. They confidently set goals and visionary on attaining them. Inevitably, major change happened due to pandemic. It was March 14, 2020 when the first national lock down was implemented. It was not gradual change but a sudden change in the workplace. Chaotic situation aroused. That time, school year 2019-2020 was about to close. A lot of questions in our minds existed. COVID-19 had a great impact from the start, unexpectedly, a totally different challenging situation. As I remember, higher officials in the Division Office intensified communication with us. A radical change of procedure and processes was overwhelming that led to the utilization of online platforms.
They started empowering us again from the difficulties at hand brought about by the outbreak. We frequently attended several webinars simultaneously and were trained to be adept to technology. Health protocols were highly emphasized and strictly implemented in all school activities. The first time that we practiced working from home and holding faculty meetings virtually. We were made to design our Contingency Learning Plan. NEAP provided us tools to help us decide for our Learning Delivery Modalities. We modified our requests from AIP and APP. We revisited our SIP. It was a distinctive set up.
With the complexity of things around, school leaders remained calm, reliable, decisive and possessed strong personality in dealing with this major change. We acted as model in taking control of the situation since most people were affected emotionally and psychologically. We acted on it as fast and as efficient in helping them to accept the new reality and cope in this new challenging situation. We were developed professionally in motivating and inspiring people in our workplace.
During this outbreak, Division of Iloilo City emphasized that school performance should not be affected. Stress caused by the situation should be managed well by school leaders through empowering the members of the skeletal force. This was the functional working group of active people composed of department heads and master teachers. We collaborated and cohesively worked closely. We created environment where everyone felt involved and a part of the cohesive whole. We were observant to teachers’ reactions, especially to those who were vulnerable and sensitive. We provided support to teachers’ development that made them engaged willingly to their work.
Continual and effective communication with teachers was very essential. They relied so much from us for updates, information, instructions and guidance from this ordeal. School leaders proved that they were fully in charge, assuring teachers of their perception that was moving towards the right direction. With this, we gained trust and build enthusiasm for them to respond positively. Made them feel as the best contributor for action planning. Discussed among with them of their suggestions and inputs for reassessment and adaptation of plans. Through these, we were generating the highest level of performance in giving quality service to stakeholders.
We are now moving forward, more focused, collaborating with other school leaders, sharing and adapting best practices. We created open-mindedness to reality; have the clearer overview of the situation; and have provided support for learning opportunities to teachers to be more inspired and motivated. Indeed, teachers become skillful, well-equipped, trained, agile, goal and result-oriented for an ultimate result to students’ quality education.
The ideal teacher is the one we respect from our hearts. He or she serves as a guide to the learners without putting so much pressure on them on doing tasks. He or she motivates and boosts students’ morale and refrain from criticizing them.
Such a teacher shows students the right path under all circumstances and never shies away from duty. Moreover, he or she is always there by the student’s side in times of need. Some students may not always have parents beside them to offer some pieces of advice, but they still need an adult’s opinion on this matter, and teachers can become the parents’ backup who can give tips and some words of encouragement.
An ideal teacher never lets the limitations of his or her student restrict their vision. He or she consistently motivates them to reach ahead and broaden their horizon. A teacher should encourage and inspire the students to think beyond their confines and help them realize their talents as well as the need to pursue them with diligence.
In conclusion, all teachers should take the time to get to know who their students are. They might even be surprised at the outcome. Knowing their students well helps them become closer to each other; that way, it will be easier for the teacher to solve any problems that occur in the classroom. Both parties, the teacher and the students who have developed mutual understanding can eventually sustain the harmonious relationship they have with one another. The teacher can even become their students’ idol or even superhero for being a good mentor and motivator to his or her students.
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.
Teachers’ effectiveness. Teacher effectiveness is dependent on various factors. Their attitude, skills, and knowledge greatly affect the performance of teachers in implementing the target goals of the K to 12 Curriculum. A teacher (as well other professions) must be a believer that learning should not stop after from graduation from Baccalaureate degree in education. There are instances when a teacher who has reached his or her twilight years often say when given a task, “Ihatag na lang na sa mga bataon kay manug retire naman ako. Iban naman ang maubra.” (“Give the task to the younger teachers. I am nearing my retirement age. Others should be given that responsibility.”) One of these factors that might have prompted those whose age are in retirement age is that their skills and knowledge might no longer be up-to-date or they are already lacking the skills required by the present curriculum.
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.
Teacher’s enjoyment. Teachers belong to the most challenged professions of all times. They no longer are constrained as implementers of the Curriculum, they have to implement programs of DepEd in addition to their basic task of teaching. They serve their clienteles and often go beyond their official times without compensation. Thus, they need to enjoy while have the energy.
Teachers’ monetary benefits. Despite of the DepEd having the chunk of the budget, it is true that it is not enough to finance all the needs of the school. With needs required by the school, teacher often have to dig into their pocket to sustain the needs of the classroom as well as the needs of the learners. With the early retirement, teachers can use their money solely for their personal needs instead of using these to subsidize the needs of the classroom.
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.
To say that Education is important is an understatement. Education is a weapon to improve one’s life. It is the most important instrument to change one’s future. Education for a child begins at home, and it is a life – long process.
Education certainly determines the quality of an individual’s life. It improves one’s knowledge, skills, and develops one’s personality and attitude. Most noteworthy, education affects the chances of employment for people. A highly educated individual is probably very likely to get a good job. It is extremely important for employment, for it provides an opportunity for somebody to make a decent living due to the skills he or she acquired through education.
Better communication is yet another vital skill one can develop in education. Education improves and refines the speech of a person to become a better communicator to the people around. Furthermore, good oral and written communication skills not only build a good relationship but also provide a significant advantage in one’s career. To do one’s job effectively, he or she has to discuss problems, request information, interact with others, and have good human relations skills.
Education produces a responsible user of technology. It certainly provides the technical skills necessary for using technology. Hence, without education, it would probably be difficult to handle modern machines that play a vital role for us humans these days for they undoubtedly make our lives much easier.
People become more mature with the help of education. Sophistication enters the life of educated people. Above all, education teaches the value of disciple to individuals.
Finally, education enables individuals to express their views efficiently. Educated individuals can explain their opinions in a clear manner. Hence, educated people are quite likely to convince people to their point of view.
With the current policy of no face-to-face classes in the Philippine Basic Education, teachers, parents, and learners start to rely on technology as the answer on the methods of transfer of learning. Teachers in different schools are mostly millennials (Gen Y, Gen X, Gen Z) while others are baby boomers (56-76 years old). This shows that each Generation has its own experience in terms of the technological use.
Here are my personal thoughts on technology in education.
Teachers need to be capacitated with the new platforms of education. John Dewey says,“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” Most teachers are technologically literate. However, some are in need to be honed in the use of tools for teaching. It is good that there are educators who still thrive to learn on how to use technology. The sad news is: other teachers refuse to relearn which truly rob the children of tomorrow. They need to step up in terms of learning these technologies.
Teachers should never stop learning. Professional growth after the pre-service training must be continuous. There are those who pursue post-graduate education, while there are those who are content with their college degree. Learning is not only limited to formal studies. This could be done through short-term courses or by reading books about current strategies in teaching. The use of ICT is a need in today’s generation. One of the K to 12 skills is technological literacy. How can a teacher share this literacy if he refuses to learn? Age should not be a deterrent. It is of no excuse. There are real-life individuals who are senior citizens yet more adept at technology than those who are in their 40s or 50s. Mark Twain says, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
Technology is not enough for the success in the teaching-learning process. According to Keith Krueger, “It is important to remember that educational software, like textbooks, is only one tool in the learning process. Neither can be a substitute for well-trained teachers, leadership, and parental involvement”. I find it funny when parents get emotional (angry even) when they think of the proposal that DepEd will shift to online learning (for the moment during the pandemic). Some clamor that the burden of teaching will be passed on to them. I am both a teacher and a parent. As a parent, one of my responsibilities is to monitor and teach my children. It is not a responsibility solely of a teacher. Success in the learning of a child should have the involvement of the parents, the leadership of the administrators, and the dedication and capacity of teachers.
Technology can NEVER replace good and committed teachers. Bill Gates said, “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” The great news is that proper technology in the hands of a good and committed teacher would be transformational. The teacher is still the most important in terms of the way learning is transferred.
The battle against COVID-19 still has not been won. Educating the youth should not stop and the Department of Education is racking its brains on how to produce life-long learners despite the pandemic. The use of technology is a great tool in the teaching-learning process. It “just” needs a well-equipped and motivated teacher.
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.
Education opens one’s mind and allows for the improvement of one’s life.
I believe education is the most important tool a person can receive that can bring the most success in society today. Education can help lessen the challenges a person will face in life for being equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitude, one is capable to make better decisions to better his life and of others most importantly.
The more knowledge a person gains, the more opportunities that person can achieve. One example of this is getting better options in career and personal growth. One who has completed higher education can easily qualify for various job and career opportunities compared with a person who has none. Thus, extended education is vital these days, for it equips a person with the necessary skills to easily cope with work demands and to meet the job standards.
I believe education is significant because it helps a person develop a unique perspective of looking at life. It played a major role for all individuals in society. It has allowed the community to succeed both socially and economically by developing common culture and values. It is the reason our world is what it is today. Doctors have been close to finding cures for cancer because of higher education. Our technology has been enriched compared to the previous century, all because of education.
If the importance of education is not recognized, then someday education will become less relevant. Education serves to unite and strengthen our country. Without education, people would not be able to distinguish right from wrong. If this happens, then our society will find itself at a large disadvantage compared with other countries. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” once said a wise man named Nelson Mandela, and that is why I strongly agree why education is important as the key to success.
Many philosophers and great educators have defined education since the beginning of time. One notable quote is that of the American philosopher and educator, John Dewey, and he said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” How does this go on with today’s seeming definition of education? Here are some significant points:
Education helps in spreading knowledge in society. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Agenda for 2030 states that “Education is a human right and a force for sustainable development and peace.” Education here is imperative in empowering people with knowledge, skills, and values. This is perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of education in which quick propagation of knowledge enables people to be empowered. A society that is equipped with the correct knowledge, proper skills, and ethical values have the best chances to live and survive in this challenging world. Empowered people are productive, they can get jobs or start businesses and even make decisions that could contribute to the community.
The teaching-learning process in education continues to evolve. There have been rapid changes in the world which include changes in education. With the new breed of learners who have different learning styles and varying learning backgrounds compared to previous generations, teachers need to adapt the teaching-learning process to cater the needs of today’s generation. There have been multiple teaching innovations and strategies on how knowledge can be transferred and gained effectively.
Education is an eye-opener for social issues. Education is very important and highly valued in today’s society. It is also necessary for success in life. It is a means to provide students with the ample knowledge of social awareness to address problems in our society. Education teaches learners on how to be aware of the problem, identify the problem, and provide solutions to the problem.
Education plays a vital role in the fight against epidemic. The threat of COVID-19 is still present in these times. The battle against it can be fought through education. A population that has the knowledge about the threat can learn how to protect oneself from being infected with the virus. The educational system has a greater linkage to the population compared to any other governmental institution. Learners and parents can be informed well through educational campaigns.
Education improves livelihood. Individuals who are learned and educated have greater opportunities for a better livelihood. They can have an opportunity to thrive which might result to having higher incomes, a sense of identity, social status, and the means to produce and distribute resources and services. A society with individuals who have better social class tends to have better environment.
Through the ever-changing time, education should be considered of great importance for its significant impact not only with one’s knowledge, skills and attitude but also to the society. Thus, education needs not only to be seen as a preparation for life; it is life itself.
(Iloilo City) – Sixty students enrolled in Alternative Learning System (ALS) of DepEd Division of Iloilo City were awarded certificates of completion of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) Infoteach training program last April 8, 2016 at Monfort Hall, DepEd Division of Iloilo, Lapaz, Iloilo City.
PLDT Infoteach training program is a social corporate responsibility initiative of the company aimed on training both students and teachers in the field of Information Communications Technology (ICT) and had the tradition to teach students and teachers in regular schools and had partnered with Local Government Units (LGU’s) and University of the Philippines Open University (UPO), but now extended to ALS which is the first in their program as well as in the City of Iloilo.
The training implementation started in the third quarter of 2015 and spearheaded by Mr. Stephen Balmes and Mr. Rolly Ben Madera, both Education Program Specialists II, with the support of Mrs. Leila Valencia, ALS Coordinator and Education Program Supervisor, Learning Resource Management Development System under the Curriculum Implementation Division of DepEd Division of Iloilo City.
Together with Iloilo City, local officials of recipient localities of Oton, Leon, and San Miguel in the Province of Iloilo thanked PLDT of the laudable program which the company has started for many years ago. In her speech, the amiable and brilliant Officer In-Charge of the DepEd Division of Iloilo City, Ms. Clarissa G. Zamora, addressed the importance of ICT in leveling international boundaries and knowledge on 21st Century skills as responsive education of today’s learners.
Mr. Dominador Co, one of the Executive Assistants to the Hon. Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, expressed the Mayor’s message by commending the spirit of volunteerism possessed by ALS teachers in delivering alternative education and skills to the youth of Iloilo City.
The Head of Community Relations Department and Public Affairs of PLDT, Mrs. Evelyn Mamauag del Rosario, served as the guest speaker. She challenged the Training Course completers to share their learning to others. “It is not just that your brains are full, but the heart who knows how to love. Share the modules to teachers and all learners”, she added. She concluded that their training as what PLDT believes serves as a social equalizer to bridge the problem of poverty and suggested an innovative way of saying PLDT, that is – Pray to God, Listen carefully to your teachers, Determination to win, and Teamwork.
While browsing the different certificates of participation I have attended since the opening of the academic year 2015, I came to realize that time ran so fast, I am so lucky to be sent as a representative of our school, and so with this, I shouldn’t waste any single minute to help implement what I have learned from the various training and seminar-workshops conducted by the dedicated and committed Education Program Specialists of the Division of Iloilo City. The “ber” month has arrived, though several tasks were accomplished but still more responsibilities are yet to be done and expect even more challenges to come.
In her inspirational message during the Reorientation on Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program( 4Ps) last August 19,2015 at EON Centennial Resort, Madam Clarissa G. Zamora, the Assistant Schools Division Superintendent and Officer-in-Charge of the Division of Iloilo City shared about the complicated status of being a leader, a worker and an educator even he/she takes the roles and responsibilities seriously. Her sincere words made me recall one passage I have read from a Christian book which says, “When the work of earning a living, raising a family, maintaining health and fitness and managing relationships starts to overwhelm us, it’s good to think about how small our part in the universe is”.
Taking a look at the bulk of work ahead of us, we could sometimes say that life is difficult, burdensome and chaos. Let us face the fact that while the left hemisphere of our brain is busy with the reports to be submitted, requirements of Senior High School Program to be accomplished, grades of students to be computed, etc., the other half worries about bills to be paid, endless debt to be overcome, debilitating illness of a family member to be cured, etc.
With all these, there is nothing more effective than the power of Divine Intervention. ORA et LABORA…PRAY and WORK. When everything seem to fall into pieces, pause for a while and think of those who are last, least and lost, those who believe that the best revenge against poverty is by going to school ( SAKADA 2015). Remember, enormous number of young people out there depend on us for their future, Let us pray and work hard in order to craft a focused mind amidst all the challenges and destruction of life, get to enjoy sunrises and sunsets every day, for God’s grace to every child who calls upon Him is immeasurable.