October 5, 2020 marks a new beginning for the entire Pasay City National Science High School community as it officially began its blended distance learning modality. The said distance learning was initiated through the use of various virtual platforms such as Google Classroom and Google Meet with the assistance of offline modalities such as modules and pre-recorded video lessons.
Most students expressed their experienced fatigue and anxiety in various social media platforms as the first day of classes was ceased. According to Kimi Jan Escalante, a grade 10 PaScian student, the heavy workload is definitely not a joke after going through the creeping exhaustion as he faced all throughout his day. “I still have the problem of not being able to download certain modules because it won’t even let me. I still wish the schedule would be shorter,” he stated.
Teachers also claimed that they truly prefer the face-to-face pedagogical approach. However, they had to adapt to the new normal due to the ongoing pandemic, “Kung dati ay usually sa apat na sulok ng silid-aralan tayo nag-aaral ng mga leksiyon, ngayon hindi, ang pagkatuto ay puwede na sa kahit saang lugar as long as merong internet o kaya merong learning materials. Ine-expect ko na mas lalaki ang demand ng online learning in the future gaya ng nangyayari sa Pinas ngayon,” Napoleon Anteja, the grade 10 Mathematics teacher, said.
(Back then, we usually study our lessons inside the four corners or the classroom, now we don’t, now learning can be done anywhere as long as there is an internet connection or learning materials. I expect that the demand for online learning will increase in the future just like here in the Philippines today)
“Kasi mas na-explain ko noon nang mabuti. Ngayon, napaka-limited ng oras ko kasama ng mga bata. Challenge rin sa ‘kin kung pa’no magiging engaged sa’kin ang mga bata at matuto sila nang maayos kahit na marami rin akong pagkukulang sa kanila bilang guro.”
(I could explain it better before. But now, my time with the children is very limited. It’s also a challenge for me to help the students be engaged in me and if they would still learn properly despite my shortcomings as their teacher.)
No one is absolutely exempted from experiencing the impacts of the modified educational approached brought by the virus outbreak. “Struggles ko? Usually sa pagpe-prepare ng learning materials ng bata. Yung sa PowerPoint na gagamitin ko, kung paano pagkakasyahin sa 40 minutes ang dalawang topics na usually noon nadidiskartehan kong ituro nang ‘di ako nagmamadali,” Anteja added.
(My struggles? Usually in preparing the learning material for the kids. The Powerpoint that I am to use, how will I compress two topics within 40 minutes which I could do before without being rushed.)
Anteja also stated that he was struggling with the use of the devices during the online lecture.
On the other hand, parents were also concerned for the wellbeing of their children as the learners adapted to the new normal. “Okay lang naman sa akin na mag-online class sila kasi, at least, hindi sila nae-expose sa labas at mas mababa ang posibilidad na mahawa sila ng COVID. Mabuti rin na nababantayan namin sila habang nagkaklase at aware kami sa mga ginagawa nila. Ang pinaka-concern ko lang ay ‘yung sobrang exposure nila sa harap ng screen. Natatakot ako na baka kapag nagpatuloy ‘yung ganito, may masamang mangyari sa kalusugan ng anak ko,” a parent of a grade 10 student claimed.
(It’s okay for me for them to have online classes because, at least, they aren’t exposed outside and the risk of infection is low. Its also a pro that we are able to supervise them and we are aware of what they do in class. My only concern is their prolonged exposure on screens. I’m afraid that if this will go on, my child’s health will be risked.)
As the classes end, both teachers and students looked for ways to cope with the stress. According to Maria Jocel Lavilla, the SSG Grade 10 Representative, “It’s really difficult coping with this style of education, but listening to my favorite songs while answering my modules helps me. I also try my best in communicating with my family and friends during my free time to ease my mind for a bit. Other than that, I still hope that the system of learning would improve as the year proceeds.”
Escalante also said that his stress relievers were sleeping, listening to music, and watching Youtube videos. Anteja expressed the importance of hope in overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, “Honestly speaking, medyo worried talaga ako na ‘di ako makapagturo nang maayos ngayon. To cope up sa mga stress ngayon ay iniisip ko na lang na matatapos din itong pandemiya na ito, kasi ‘di matutumbasan ng napakagandang technology ang connection ko sa mga bata ng face-to-face kasi iba pa rin kapag andyan sila na literal na kasama mong natututo.”
(Honestly speaking, I’m actually a bit worried that I will fail to teach them properly now. To cope up with stress these days, I just think that this pandemic will end, because good technology will never equate to the connection I have with the students face-to-face, which is completely different as they are literally with you, learning.)
Anteja also shared his feel good techniques. “Bukod d’yan naglalaro ako ng games sa cellphone pang bawas-stress kahit paano. Higit sa lahat, nagtiwala na lang ako kay Lord na mapagtatagumpayan ko bawat sitwasyon na kakaharapin ko dahil sa Kanya, at para sa mga estudyante ko.”
(Besides that, I play games on my cellphone to relax. More so, I just trust the Lord that I will overcome hardships that I will face through Him, and for my students.)