top of page

My class then and now

By April C. Barbosa

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought so many effects to the world — from health, to economy, to agriculture, as well as to the education sector. When many of us were thinking about the death toll on the verge of the pandemic and some others in the medical fields were finding solutions non-stop, we teachers were concerned about our pupils’ learning, which had already been harmed.

From all the face-to-face discussions we were all having, the nationwide lockdown was implemented to which we thought would last for only half a month. Two weeks became one month, then two months, and then four. And that was literally devastating. Aside from thinking about how the family would be kept safe, there were these anxieties that were saying, “How about your learners? How are they going to go back to school?” And the thought of the impossibility of in-person setup again was what broke my heart. For the longest time, I was seeing my pupils’ smiles first thing in the morning, the way they adjust from fidgety to being at ease the moment I enter the classroom. Those were the moments which would be put on hold because of the safety protocols set by the IATF.

I, personally, had a hard time in this transition. The manpower of this modular setup was beyond what I was expecting. I had no choice but to adjust to the situation and be as adaptable as possible. My routine would be: (1) Report to the elementary school on the days 1 was assigned to; (2) Print modules while doing some other school work; (3) Go home and take a rest; (4) Do household chores; (5) Print modules again. It looked like printing modules had become my hobby in my leisure time because the new setup demanded us to do so and there was no other time to insert it into. And when everyone has seen it as a burden, I have seen it as more of a commitment than a hardship. I believed that it was a testament to how much we, teachers, put so much effort into our profession and live up to the oath we took right after passing the board exams.

Other than the modules, there were also video lessons. There were times when I had to tap my daughter and her cousins for a single video lesson, not to mention the things to consider before and after filming. I had to prepare a PowerPoint presentation first and see to it that the lessons were well-explained and illustrated there. Next thing is the filming. I thought that it was the easiest process because I would just talk in front of the camera and explain everything just like pre-pandemic. But I was wrong. There were a lot of instances where we had to cut the video because of the noise of the motorcycles and cars outside, because of the sneeze of someone in the room, and because I was laughing the whole time. And then, here goes the editing. The clips we filmed had to be cut and linked to one another to maintain the flow of thoughts. And then the background had to be edited and the PowerPoint presentation had to be attached to the screen. That was a new yet fascinating experience I had to do for the class in this setup.

The modular setup had taught me so many things as a teacher. And it also helped me develop certain skills I knew I wouldn’t learn pre-pandemic. It helped me manage my time at school and at home, it helped me know more about the internet and the downloading and editing of modules online, and it made me more confident when it comes to speaking in front of a camera for a particular video lesson. But above all, it taught me how to further reach my limits, to go out of my comfort zone, and to assess what more I could do as an educator.

And now that the classes were slowly going back to normal, I was very much excited to look at my classroom again with learners in it. The noise, yells, laughter and the petty quarrels of my pupils. Yes, the modules were still there but lesser, and the interaction between me and them was there again. It was also a proud moment for me when I would see them following safety protocols at school such as wearing of face masks and using alcohol which, I believe, was taught by their parents at home.

More than the pupils, I was also glad to see how parents support their children in their studies. They would always take them to school early in the morning. My sister-in-law said some of the mothers would stay at the store next door while waiting for their children’s dismissal. They would also exchange stories as to how they help them review at night especially when exams are set the next day as well as how they prepare early in the morning to pack for their lunch. And it made me so much proud of these women because it just shows how important we see education is to our children. Imagine the almost five hours of doing almost nothing just to wait for their children and welcome them with warm smiles, how-was-school questions, and packed lunch.

Of all the experiences I have had from before, during, and after the pandemic, one thing was certain: that education is unstoppable. Our country needs strong and will-driven individuals in the coming years and there is no perfect timing to prepare but now. The children, these kids at school, are our only hope. And as I reflect on the years, I can say that as long as there are children and as long as there are parents who are supportive, I will never stop teaching and inspiring these children to reach higher and dream greater. We have survived the era where manila paper and felt-tip pens were used as learning materials, the era where PowerPoint first emerged, the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the resumption of face-to-face classes. Therefore, I could say that no pandemics could ever stop any teachers from doing the things they love. My salute to all the TEACHERS!


bottom of page