Teaching in the New Normal

We are living in a time of uncertainty; still, education must persist.

Teaching and learning are already complicated during normal circumstances. But during this time, it will take a new level of complexity. We will need to explore new ways and strategies to deliver instructions to our already distracted students.

There was a question which I asked myself during the beginning of the lockdown, “Why can’t we just stop our school year and just wait it out?” Perhaps until a vaccine for COVID-19 has been administered. Possibly widely enough to have herd immunity in our community, if we are to treat this pandemic as the enemy of World War C.

I believe this question has also been raised to the higher-ups. But we cannot be certain how that discussion went since they decided to re-open the classes of all levels in July or August; with the options of limited face-to-face instruction in accordance with health protocols, blended learning, and even homeschooling.

There are also guidelines in-place for transitioning to fully online education, especially in the tertiary. Unfortunately, this option is not applicable to all — particularly for the families and communities on the fringes of society, many of which are relying on free tuition fees or government subsidies.

How can we expect them to afford online classes when their most basic necessities like food and shelter make their family insecure?

But still, we need to adapt. The educational institutions should adopt in this troubling time — with the students’ welfare still being the top priority.

Teaching in the new normal will be a balancing act. Teachers will need to consider the needs, the safety, and the capacity of each student (and also their own) if the motto “no student left behind” will hold true.

Teaching will require sacrifices, but learners will also need to hold up their end because teachers can only give as much as the students are able to receive.

I love this quote by Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter, “Youth cannot know how age thinks and feel. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.”

Every teacher was also once a student. The difference is that we, as teachers, were blessed enough not to experience this pandemic while we were still studying.

With that said, we need to stand from their point-of-view. What are their needs? How can I, as their teacher, be fair? But more than being fair, how can I be equitable?

There are still so many unknowns in the upcoming school year, and we don’t know how well we will be able to adapt. But as professionals, we will rise to the occasion.

So, until the appointed day when we are finally free to re-enter the halls of our schools. To walk confidently into our classrooms and stand in front, while looking at our students face-to-face to teach — without any more restrictions.

Let us find a way on how we can deliver the best quality of education we can offer during this time, while also taking into consideration our students’ unique situations.

May each and every teacher use their academic freedom, with the heart to extend patience and understanding for students; in such a way we would have wanted our teachers to do the same if we are on the other side of the teacher’s table.

Always remember, whether we are primary, secondary, or tertiary teachers, the bottom line is, we are educators. And as educators, we must educate our students with the best of our ability. May God give us the wisdom we need.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

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