Almost after a year of being cooped up indoors due to the global health crisis, some people have started realizing that we are no longer fighting the virus. We are adapting to live with it.
And as much as we hate the idea, we have no choice but to accept the reality and adapt to move forward. This is exactly what private schools in Cebu have been doing since the start of the remote learning set up.
Various private sectors involved in education struggled when face-to-face classes were restricted due to the pandemic. Problems regarding management, health restrictions, teaching, and finance got school owners scratching their heads.
However, being the decision-makers that they are, school owners are devising new plans and systems to provide quality education to the children and aid their respective communities amid the pandemic.
Theresa F. Tio – Childlink Learning Center and Childlink High School, Inc.
Founded in the year 1997, Childlink Learning Center and Childlink High School started with their first batch of students consisting only of 15 students in the toddler and playgroup level.
Over the years, Childlink managed to make yearly additions in their classes and eventually has been established as a Chinese School that offers both the English and Chinese curriculum.
Theresa F. Tio, founder and directress of Childlink Learning Center, told CDN Digital that preparation for the shift to online learning came easy for Childlink since they have been planning to offer blended learning even before the pandemic.
“The sudden implementation of online classes by DepEd is not a drastic change for Childlink, rather it only hastened our shift to the digital platform. We have been preparing for blended learning ever since so, how we run the program in the new normal is not a problem,” Tio said.
With this, teachers of Childlink found it easier to cope with the digital setup and establish a connection with their students.
“Our teachers are adjusting very well with the online program. Most of them are young and dynamic so, the transition was a breeze because they are open to the idea of change,” Tio said.
In their preparation for the learning setup, the school introduced a learning management system that allows students to collaborate more with their teachers in the online platform.
As online classes can be very taxing for students nowadays, the school developed their learning program in a way that students can carry out online lessons throughout the day. Their schedules were planned with lectures, activities, and assessment times for teachers to engage with the students effectively.
The digital divide is still a significant concern for learning but with the new educational tools introduced in the online setup, parents, teachers, and students realize that online classes are transformative in time of the new normal.
“In a meeting with parents, they have observed that with online learning, their children communicate and collaborate more with their teachers and classmates and are being independent in regards to academic work. Their performance is reflected in their school work, and I can say that students have been producing better quality outputs even in an online class,” Tio said.
In this crisis, Teacher Theresa realized that despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, there will always be an opportunity to better the education of the students. It’s in these times that she’s convinced that teaching is not merely a profession but a passion to contribute to the growth of the youth.
Sunshine Lim – Sto. Niño Mactan Montessori School
What started as a tutorial school 12 years ago, the Sto. Niño Mactan Montessori School is now a private school with a mission to provide quality education and to instill values in its students through the years.
Sunshine Lim, SNMMS School Executive Director, shared with CDN Digital that although the pandemic has thrown a wrench on how they operate their school, it did not stop them from creating new opportunities, especially if it’s for their students.
“We will never leave any child behind. That is the Montessori Method,” Lim said.
The school director also regarded the resiliency of the SNMMS teachers in these trying times.
“The new learning setup is indeed a heavy challenge for our teachers but what amazes me is their passion for teaching students. They have participated in regular webinars and meetings introduced by the school and were very attentive to look for ways in providing holistic learning for our students. With the collective effort of the school and our teachers, SNMMS was able to develop new learning methods that will further reshape and improve the school’s approach to education in the new normal,” she said.
Though online classes are now implemented, SNMMS continues its traditional learning approach for its students but with considerations to the digital platform. It presses on with its usual school activities, the only difference is the remote participation of students. Interactive discussions and recitations are also greatly practiced in online classes.
According to Lim, it is important for the school and for the teachers to resume their usual teaching approach to provide a sense of normalcy to their students.
Lim shared the positive responses of the parents on the school’s effort in educating their children.
“Parents admitted their struggle on the education of their children in the new normal, but at the same time, they are also amazed at the new educational methods and tools that they have not seen before. They eventually got comfortable with the adaptations and are happy with our current learning setup as it molded self-discipline and manifested self-study habits to the students despite the on-going pandemic,” she said.
Along the process of the shift to the online platform, the school director also realized an opportunity of opening their doors to other countries.
“Currently, we are catering students from countries like Japan, Korea, and the USA. While the pandemic indeed brought disorder to our school, it also served as an eye-opener that there are other options to recover and to grow positively. A lot of opportunities were implemented and we are now offering more courses and jobs. Looking at the bright side, these trying times gave opportunity not only to the school but also to the community and globally,” Lim said.
But the school’s shift to the online platform is not without its challenges.
“Yes, we’ve faced some problems with the changes but as a mother and the school’s director, I can’t afford to deprive education and learning to my children and our students. For the sake of our student’s future, the teachers and I become grounded and motivated to cope and adapt to the new normal.”