I haven’t written anything about Coco’s schooling here since classes begun last October. In fact, it took me a while to do some personal contents because I am having a really hard time juggle being Coco’s “teacher”, my job and content creation. But today, I am happy to share that we have finally finished 9 months of modular learning and I am happy as well, that all my hardwork has paid off.
As mentioned in my blog regarding the schooling during the corona era and how I prepared for it, we were really moving Coco to another school for Grade 2, the reason, I will talk about it when I am ready. But I wasn’t at ease with the plans of the “new” school. I read about a couple of mommy’s moving their children to the public school system. We decided to do it as well. My husband graduated elementary in that school. Honestly speaking, I am surprised with my decision. I never thought we would end in this situation, although virtually. I’ve always dreamt of Coco studying in those big all-boy private schools, as I am a product of an almost similar system, as well. Not that I’m looking down at those who are studying in a public school, please don’t get me wrong. I am really, really not. It just didn’t cross my mind. But here we are during this pandemic, I was even the one who initiated this.
Why did I chose to enroll Coco in a public school? I believe they are more equipped and prepared with the situation, more than some semi-private schools, which I am more likely to enroll Coco. Since public schools are all under the Department of Education, it will be more uniformed with the whole country. We don’t want to shell out a chunk of money to those who were not quite sure with what they were doing then, with no promises that there won’t be face to face classes for the whole school year. They were keen on having face to face classes at that time, when and if DepEd permits and I don’t want that. This is for the school were we were supposed to transfer Coco. And lastly, I am quite sure that I will be Coco’s “main teacher” for the school year, I’d just treat myself with good food and milk tea, once in a while, for my sanity. Yes, since public schools are free. We will be able to save money for emergency purposes.
From the moment that the Department of Education decided to finally bring back the children to school, virtually, our Mayor Vico Sotto was always on top of his game to make sure everything will be smooth. From training the teachers to curating the modules up to procuring the tablets and laptops that will be given to all the public school students of Pasig. Nakaka-proud talaga to be a Pasigueño.
Here are 7 things I want to share with you with regards to our home learning experience during this pandemic.
1. Modular learning. Our Mayor made sure that the modules of all the students are of quality – from the text-based modules to the videos. The videos they made are good, even if they are exactly ripped off from the text-based modules. The thing is, in some modules, things aren’t explained well. A couple of modules have wrong answer keys, that sometimes it is Coco who corrects it. I hope they review the modules again before the next school year opens and make sure that those with mistakes will be fixed. The mayor isn’t to blame here, because I am sure he didn’t watch all of it. I doubt that with the situation our country is facing, he would have time to review 18 modules each of the 4 quarters, total of 7 subjects for second grade. There will be more for upper levels. But I hope he would instruct those who are in charge of the modules to fix it.
2. Text-based Learning. I am not so sure if we are the same with other sections, grade levels nor other public schools. But with Coco’s class, they were doing text-based. How does it work? For Coco’s grade level, he only have 1 teacher for all 7 subjects that he had. All of the students are inside a Facebook Messenger Group chat with the adviser. They were around 40 students in the class, and they were divided into 5 groups. Coco was in the cotton candy group. The teacher would discuss the lesson for the day. For recitation, she will call on a group and only the group members will be submit the picture of their answer which was already answered in the module or type it out in the chat box. The thing is sometimes, there is a tendency that other groupmates would just literally copy-paste the answer even if the questions is obviously something that needs an answer based on your own perception or thinking.
3. Information Overload. In a normal, physical classroom, a whole day class would last for 8-9 hours. We normally have would have 6-7 subjects a day. Did we experience info overload then? I don’t think so, based on my experience, I didn’t. Why? We were physically inside the classroom, therefore, our mind would also be in studying mode. Before classes starts, we would have mini breaks in between. The fun part is we are with our classmates and friends, who actually will be with us in every step of the way. Honestly speaking, that is happiest part of school. Coco’s classes only last for 2 hours a day for 2 subjects. It is just two hours but he always dread going to class every single day. Because after classes, he would still do 2 modules each for the 2 subjects he had early in the morning. You just don’t know how it would give him and even me, information overload. You see, even if they say that it is asynchronous, that you can do whenever, we really have to do it on time. Believe me, we tried to just chill and we had a hard time catching up. Imagine studying 3 modules of around 18 pages each per subject, times 2, a day. Sometimes, it would even end up to 4 modules per subject in certain weeks. Before the day ends, we are so drained. I give Coco breaks, since I also have to cook lunch and work, but doing them all takes up all my time, because I also have to “teach” him the lessons and don’t just leave him to self-study. And because of these modules taking up my time, I end up extending work time until the wee hours of the morning to compensate. Get a few hours of sleep and wake up again early for the next class. I think it is not only Coco who dreaded this but me as well.
4. Free tablet/laptop. Each batang Pasigueño got their own tablet. If you were in the higher level, you get a laptop. We never expected this when I enrolled Coco but it was definitely a big help to us. We have a mobile phone and a new laptop to use for classes, but I also work. So I am really thankful for our Mayor for making sure that each student will receive a gadget of quality for their learning.
5. Performance Tasks. During the first few weeks, I was wondering if they will have a periodic exam of some sort. They didn’t but they had a couple of rounds of quizzes which they did have via with the help of the Google form. But then, it was really draining as we had to study for 9 modules per subject x 3 for a 20 point quiz. Teacher would tell us about it less than a week before that. So imagine the time we have to review our children, as if they didn’t come from classes in those days too. I enjoyed watching Coco answer via Google form from a far. There was this two consecutive quiz days when I had to tell teacher to please switch the subjects because for the first day, bulk of the major subjects were scheduled and on the second day, it was mostly, MAPEH. Why would we make it a hard time for both parents and kids, when we could make life easier for everyone, right? Good thing, teacher listened to my suggestion and switched the subjects. I think before the end of the first quarter, they changed the quizzes to performance tasks. Instead of multiple choice and true or false quizzes, the kids had to do performance tasks per subject. I believe it was the best thing that they did for the kids. After that, they changed it to instead of a performance task per subject, it became 1 whole performance task were in all subjects were incorporated with a few tasks. This happening made all of our lives easier. They made dioramas, planted seedlings, math vlogs, composed and sang songs, interviewed the guardian and a lot more.
6. During the school year, we were given Malusog na Batang Pasigueño Food pack that Mayor Vico initiated. We received twice during the school year and once (for two quarters already) when the kids were already on vacation. This is an effort to fight hunger and malnutrition of students, especially during this pandemic. It also aims to provide good nutrition that the students will need to perform better in school.
7. Despite of the many negative effects that this distance learning brought to our children, what I was amazed in my son’s development was how he because independent in a lot of ways and how he became computer literate. If you have followed me, Coco wasn’t allowed with gadgets since he was 2 years old until he was 6 years old. He knows what a laptop is, but he didn’t know how to use it and what is in it. Now, that he started with home learning, he learned so fast on how to navigate Windows, the internet and the different apps that he needed to use. I was so amazed with how he managed. He was even the one who thought me some tips I need to know for Zoom.
One school year has passed in an instant, didn’t even notice that we were finished with second grade already. It was so hard on everyone, but we all tried our very best to be strong and help each other despite of the situation that we are in to. Next school year will be another year of home learning. I pray that it will be smoother this time. But for now, we will enjoy 9 weeks of freedom, catching up on missed opportunities to rest and play.
Au revoir! See you in a few!