By: Randy P. Calderon, BNHS SHS – Teacher III
It has been more than a year and a half since the schools closed their doors to protect teachers and students from the still unknown and unprecedented epidemic of global proportions.
We are already numbed by the ever-changing restrictions on travel and social gatherings and one of the hardest-hit people are the teachers who must adapt to these changes in moving the traditional noisy but convivial classrooms to virtual ones. The electronic platform that replaces standing before a class is now uses a computer’s camera, microphone, and speakers for the synchronous mode of teaching/learning activity to deliver study material and explain further the lessons at hand.
This generation of learners often called as the ‘digital natives’ are growing up in the time when mobile devices developed into indispensable tools and daily companions that they learned to use extensively. It is not surprising that they are adept and taking advantage of these technological marvels in their education.
It is imperative for teachers to have working knowledge of these electronic devices and the use of the appropriate software to deliver digital content that fulfills the learning objectives. Both teacher and learner struggle through interrupted connections. They miss out on momentums of discovery when sluggish connections crop up so often.
The teacher/learner rapport is no longer the same case as it was on a live classroom and yet there is no substitute yet for this virtual ‘face-to-face’ interaction over the cable and wireless networks. But there is still the desire for students to learn and for teacher to teach that this apparent gap is bridged regardless of the distances apart considering contact time is reduced.
The real challenge is how the slow-learners can be brought up to speed to the lessons more often in the case of less-privileged students who could barely afford to keep up with the technology and even less able to support themselves to continue studying.
Public schools managed by the government has a tremendous pool of manpower in creating content for general education core curriculums that are now readily available to teachers through links to a commons resource website, contents that are shared within the education community. Audio-visual and multi-media resources are also easier to obtain through government-sponsored networks, conferences, forums and teacher-training programs.
There are mixed reactions and opinions regarding the teaching in the time of COVID but given the positive as well as negative consequences of departing from the usual schoolrooms, both teachers and students desire very much to return to the community that the pandemic separated one from the other and to a larger extent, away from each other.