June 8, 2020

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Education in the Philippines

The impact of Covid19 Pandemic on education is undeniable.  June 6, 2020 - It is with a heavy heart that the management of St. Francis Learning Center of Porac Inc. released their statement regarding the current situation of the school. They decided to stop the operation due to financial losses. Such dire situation was aggravated by circumstances brought about by Covid19 Pandemic.

It is not the only school that is closing in the Philippines in this time of Covid 19 Pandemic. A lot of them actually, especially the small ones. In recent interviews aired on televisions, administrator are reluctant to resume operation this school year in fear of not only loosing a profit but also of not having enough financial means to support their staff. The Department of Education is gearing towards the road of online and modular learning in the coming months and maybe a blended learning when it is safe for face to face learning. Imagine the situation for private schools:

1. No outsourcing of books for the learners. It is not practical and they won't be useful because students need simplified learning kits. (They'll stay home and parents will be the one to guide them). (Loss income on books)

2. No outsourcing of notebooks as well because learning kits will also serve as the activity sheet. (Loss income on notebooks)

3. No tuition fee hike. They wouldn't feel comfortable adding an amount to their current tuition fee. Financial matter is another issue right now. And maybe, others would think that their current fee is still unreasonable knowing the children would spend most of their time at home.

4. Miscellaneous fee would be put on a hot seat. We all know that such fee was being spent for the children's welfare at school (But like I sad,  the percentage of the children spending their time at school ranges from 5 to 0 %).

Why am I talking about this?:

First I am a public school teachers whose heart goes out to all the private school teachers who will lost their job, and second I am a mother whose son was affected by the situation.

It was and still a heartbreaking moment for all of us-parents. Such institution was my son's second home. We enrolled him there because we wanted him to have a solid foundation in education. With their individualized learning approach and some sort of follow the child phase, we found the perfect school for him according to his needs. 

Now, we are all like lost in the limbo. With the current circumstances of increasing Covid cases in the Philippines, we are not in a position to scout for another school which would fit his needs. We are left with almost 0% choice. There are lots of other schools out there I know. It is just heartbreaking knowing the place where we entrusted him will no longer offer him care and most especially educational support.

Covid19 and Education are not the prefect match. NO chemistry at all (sigh).

May 26, 2020

Using Student Feedback to Improve Teaching

There are so many hot pressing issues in the nation and one of them is the opening of classes for school year 2020-2021. I know this is inevitable and the only thing I can do it to be positive with all that is happening and equip myself so that I wouldn't be caught off guard and unprepared.

In preparation for the "New Normal" in education, teachers joined webinars and organizations that offered online self-paced courses to improve their craft. I did as well! But today, while I was on the process of putting together a syllabus for my students, my planning redirected me back on my learners's "Feedback" (which I asked them to write last school year). 

In preparing a lesson, I consider the interest of my students and their behavior while inside the classroom. For the first grading you won't have an interest inventory of students because this is the first time you'll get to know your student. For my planning this year, I will use the feedback I got from my students last year.

In a research paper published at Digital Commons of the University of Nebraska, it was stated that the direct daily observers of the professor's classroom teaching performance are the students in the classroom. It backs up my claim that student survey can be utilized not only in improving the teacher but for school improvement too because the output of the teaching force is a reflection of the institution which nurtures them.

image created in Canva

Let me share how I organize the feedback so that I can easily utilized them to my advantage. 
  • First thing first, when asking for feedback from your students, you may prepare a survey questionnaire. But for me I like to make it more personal and less formal. I just use guide questions and write them on the board for the students to answer. Do not forget to add an extra number where student can write whatever they want to say. 
  • Instruct your students not to include their names on the paper. That would make the student survey less scary for them and less subjective for you.
  • Collect the survey / feedback and read them at one if you have the time. Use paper markers like Stabilo or Faber Castle to highlight important details.
  • Organize the feedback into bullets. You may write them or create a neat list in Canva. I like to write mine in a paper and add some doodles. Group them according to the similarity in nature / context.
  • On the opposite side of each bullet, write down the actions that you plan to do to improve or to meet their feedback. (feedback without action is a waste of time, paper, and ink - especially the one that needs improvement).
  • Use your list of feedback vs. action to your advantage. Execute your action for the feedback that can still be improve at the moment while save those which aren't applicable at the time for your next class.
Some are afraid of the feedback or student survey. But this is a great tool if you want to improve the teaching process. Do not be afraid because as what Ken Blanchard said and I quote "Feedback is the breakfast of champions".

February 21, 2020

Where do Mommies get their Energy?

Whenever I see other moms on social media looking so fresh and like they are having the best time of their life, the question "where do these moms get their energy?" pops my mind. What prompt me to ask the question? Well, let me give you a glimpse of my not so busy life.

I am a full time working mom. Yes, I spend 8 hours or more in school and yes, I am a teacher! (see the exclamation ha-ha). Not just your regular teacher though (not bragging - just explaining). A regular teacher would and supposed to be handling 6 teaching loads with "does related" work stuffs on the side. While me......I am handling 2 teaching loads only (nice right?) but wait, there's more. I am the school ICT leader (I am taking care of data management and school ICT facilities) and also, I am the Teacher-In-Charge in our department which means I am doing administrative other reports too.

Now, here is the real deal. I am a full time too, to 2 kids (8 and 1 year old - both boys), 3 kids if husband included (the hardest kid to raise, right? ha-ha). My eldest is in 2nd grade. The school service would pick him up at 6:30. Getting him ready wouldn't be much of a tedious work if he's not a picky eater. There's a canteen at school but the he's requesting for home cooked food. So I wake up at 5:00 am to prepare his lunch and snacks. Wakes him up at 5:30 and have him get ready (not to mention the I'm still sleepy, waking up and getting back to bed again things).

In the middle of the food preparation and waking up the school boy, my youngest would wake up, cry for mama to pick him up and not wanting mama to leave his sight (now you're getting my point, don't you). The father's willing to help but the boys love mama so much that they always asks for mama...and of course the tatay is a playmate.

When my school boy was off to school, I'll begin making the bed after waking the husband to prepare the breakfast, eat then play a little while with my youngest. at 7:30 I'll prepare my self for work. Husband would take charge in playing with the youngest. My time at school starts at 9:00 am and ends at 6:00 pm. Husband would pick me up at school when he finished his work early. Off to home we go, then go back to the market to pick stuffs for our picky eater. Food preparation and assignment time now (yes, we do assignments because my boy only trusts mama with his school works).

After dinner, our school boy would sleep at 8:00 pm, while the younger would sleep at past 11:00 pm. Then history repeats itself again. Now please do not blame me when sometimes I would wish for someone to take me to Mars,...no wait...take me to Neptune rather.

January 21, 2020

How am I?

My last post was dated July 2019 and it was my 7 months postpartum. Writing is something I really love to the core of my bones. There were days I miss the old times where I could tick the keyboard at any time of the day when I feel the urge to write and share something. Those were the days that my time were all mine to spare.

It's a mixed emotion reading the next post. It was March 2017 and I wasn't married yet. Now, I have two kids. I have a family. My time were not all mine to spare. Where did all those months, weeks, day, hours, minutes and seconds went? How did they just slip through? I actually feel guilty questioning how time went by without me noticing. I have kids and a husband...of course majority of those time were spent for them. I was just asking maybe because my old free spirit self is longing to be back and fused with my self now. I kinda forgot who I was when I embraced the new chapters of my life.I thought it was the best and noble thing to do. But I once read and I quote, "You cannot give what you do not have".... and in order for me to give the best of me to people I love, I should love and take care of my self first. It was indeed amazing how life passed by in the blink of an eye, but lessons were engraved in my heart and mind. Motherhood has taught me things for sure I will never learn if I didn't become one (those things will be on separate posts).  

As for now, I am trying to juggle and manage time for the family, work and hopefully on getting my self back together again. My desire for this year is to find the free spirit me who I lost in the process of improving the other versions of me.  

Image edited using Nichi

It's okay, I just forgot who I was in becoming who I am...but WELCOME BACK!

July 31, 2019

Paperless Post Review

I am in my most creative mood the past few months.  What's more interesting was that I was able to use my creativity in making others happy.  A friend of mine talked to me regarding her daughter's 7th birthday. She asked me to make her an invitation. I was all giddy about the idea and said yes in an instant. People who received the invitation inquired about it and to make the story short, I got clients. 

What I noticed was they all asked me to send a soft copy of the invitation on their emails or Facebook messenger to be sent to family and friends who live far away. That is being practical and environmentalist without them knowing for they are going paperless. After all, we are living in a digital era and the influence of social media is immeasurable.

Now, I am not only in my creative mood, but in an entrepreneur mood as well. I scribbled plans and brilliant ideas. Why not create a different packages for my future clients to choose from.

One of the packages would include a digital invitation with an element of surprise. My adventure led me to the idea of a paperless digital invitation. I consulted Goggle and it led me to "Paperless Post". It is an online platform where you can make digital invitations and email them directly to your family and friends.  Now this is what makes Paperless Post interesting:

1. Their platform offers a surprising element because unlike sending a copy of the jpg format of the invitation, Paperless Post templates include a digital envelope. The content wouldn't be revealed...not until they opened the envelope. 

Photos from Paperless Post

2. Using the platform of Paperless Post will make you environmental friendly. Need I say more?... it's paper less people, imagine the trees you'll get to save.

3. It will save you a lot of resources (paper, inks, ribbons, enevelopes)

4. They have an affiliate company who could print you a copy of the invitation if you really wanted a hard copy to keep.

Photo from Paperless Post

5. If you're creative enough, you can use Paperless Post platform in creating designs not only for invitations but for posters, flyers, brochures and other materials. They have different designs that you can play along. Imagination is your limit.

6. You can upload your designs. Amazing right?

7. Signing up ia free. Go over at Paperless Post and secure your spot. Unleash your creativity while saving mother Earth.