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From One Teacher-Nanay To Another: 'You Are Doing A Great Job, Ma!'
PHOTO BY courtesy of Frances Concepcion
  • It's an understatement to say the COVID-19 pandemic has made life tougher and more challenging. Everyone's ability to survive was tested.

    The education sector was one of the prime groups that had to make major adjustments. The pandemic affected not only the educators and the students but the parents as well.

    Moms and dads had to think of new ways to earn while staying at home—they also had to take on the task of being their children's teacher.

    We heard of tales and we saw parodies of how much parents struggled to balance the responsibility to provide for their family and to educate their kids.

    The learning must not stop, no matter how hard the situation is.

    As a teacher, I saw, firsthand, the invisible burden that was passed on to parents. Today, we spend most of our time in front of the computer, trying to produce materials for our students at home.

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    The children also felt the challenges of distance learning. Some found it stressful because of poor internet connection. Some found it difficult to sit through online classes. Some had to completely stop because of a lack of resources.

    Why wasn't an academic freeze considered an option?

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    The results of the 2013 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), one in every 10 or about four million Filipino children were out of school in 2013.

    This number is expected to increase next school year because of the COVID-19 crisis, an education official told CNN Philippines, August 2020 last year.

    An academic freeze might lead students to lose their interest in their studies and opt for early marriage or other activities that may rob them of their youth and their chance for quality education.

    The best thing we can do is to adjust to the new normal and to try our best to survive.

    Your efforts are enough.

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    I write this article to reassure my co-teachers, especially those who think that their best is not enough.

    "You are doing a great job, even though you have too much on your plate."

    Dear parents, do not be disheartened. Even if it feels like you do not have the right math skills or enough knowledge about the English language to pass on to your kids—let me reassure you that you are doing an awesome job.

    You might not be aware of it, but you are teaching your children the value of perseverance. Times like these do not call for the right answers or the perfect scores. The only thing that matters now is how well we've taught our children the value of carrying their water.

    To our beloved students, your noise and chatter that echo through every corner of our classroom are greatly missed. I bet by now, you have learned the value of being able to see each other face-to-face.

    Do not be discouraged if you think you cannot give your teachers the right answers. It's okay if you do not understand it all at once.

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    Your efforts to accomplish your projects, meet your deadlines, and answer your exams are enough to earn you justifiable grades.

    Talugtug National High School's Project "Academic Ease"

    Our school principal, Benilda S. Baluyan Ph.D., thought it necessary to help parents deal with academic requirements.

    Through project "Academic Ease" we helped them schedule the submission of modules, we talked to them about different parenting styles, and we taught them several modes of delivery so they can teach their children well.

    Teachers were also provided with printers, papers, and ink. The project helped ensure that no parent, teacher, or student would suffer alone and in silence.

    Other schools across the country also initiated the same program to help ease the academic burden because of the pandemic.

    There is still hope. Keep going.

    As a teacher, I can still see hope for our next generation. The pandemic allowed our children to learn important life lessons. It taught all of us the importance of being grateful—of learning to appreciate the little things like having our friends and family around. Everything that happened taught us to be a little more independent.

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    ***

    Frances Aura Michelle Sapitan-Concepcion or Ma'am Kai to her students, is a public school teacher from Talugtug, Nueva Ecija. She was a college instructor for 10 years and is currently teaching basic education. She is a mom to three beautiful children, one of which has autism. The pandemic gave her a chance to spend more time with her kids. Now, her child with autism can say several words and express what he wants.

    She dedicates this article to all parents like her. "Stay positive amidst the challenges of this pandemic," she says.

    Do you have stories you'd like to share? Send them to smartparentingsubmissions@gmail.com. You can also join our Facebook group, the Smart Parenting Village.

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