TEACHER CORNER | Education: Coping with COVID-19

by Joanie Rose B. Lozañes

The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the entire world.

Despite warnings over the years by health experts and other global leaders, we were caught off-guard by the deadly virus.

By now, we have lost hundreds of thousands of lives, even in rich countries which we used to think were better prepared for handling the situation.

Meanwhile the rest of us are affected by the virus, in one way or another—whether in our financial security, career, or mental health, among others.

Among the most significantly hit by the coronavirus pandemic is the educational community.

For many years, education has depended on face-to-face instruction, on the teacher and student being together physically in a classroom, and discussing the subject matter at hand, and performing activities geared towards driving home the day’s lesson.

COVID-19 has disrupted this setup because of the need for social distancing.

Schools have responded by turning to technology for assistance, for example by using online learning modalities.

Online learning modalities, which include Internet-based classrooms, quizzes, and video conferencing, have been present for some years.

However, because of issues such as the need for expensive digital devices and Internet connectivity problems, as well as the superiority of face-to-face and hands-on learning experiences, not everybody has jumped on the online learning bandwagon.

The current situation, however, leaves us little option.

Indeed, there are many challenges we have to surmount in difficult times, such as this pandemic, just as there are issues in educating people in times of war, emergencies, or disasters.

Yet, it is important that we start somewhere, then work our way towards the ideal situation where all learners and teachers are able to access such online learning modalities.

These entail many sacrifices, budgetary considerations, and perhaps, most importantly, a change in our collective mindset.

As many have said, we are never returning to the past. This is the new normal, and the education sector must cope with it.

For many of us, these may even give rise to valuable lessons and insights that we will share with future generations.