For some reason, I always like the month of May. It signals the end of another school year. It's a time when the management disburses our leave conversion and modest midyear bonus. Most teachers are savoring their vacation leaves and only a few of us are left to work. Graduation is usually the last task left. I'll never forget those days when we stayed late for the distribution of graduation tickets and programme. It's a mediocre task I enjoy with a few workplace friends.

May is also a time when the school canteen is closed so everyone is forced to have lunch outs or deliveries. Me and my friends opt for the cheaper meals from the nearby eatery. Never mind if it meant walking from the scorching heat and battling with employees from a popular bank for that last serving of kare kare. :p On pay days, we treat ourselves with Jollibee or KFC. We wear casual clothes and overtime is a rare sight. On some days, we have after work mall dates. On weekends, I can accommodate that much needed jogging in my favorite trail. 

On a personal level, May is when I schedule my semi-annual trip to the dentist and hair salon. Life will be better if I gained freelance works. As I type this post, I felt sad realizing those days are good as memories. Today, I'm at the comforts of home and trying my best to contribute in flattening the curve. While I'm thankful for the opportunity to work and earn from home, some government officials knew how to ruin everything. 

This week, my source of frustration came from the recent press conference directing that education should be postponed until a vaccine is developed. My views maybe biased because I work for a school. In as much as I'd like to elaborate, I'll keep my thoughts simple. There are diseases that exist for decades and vaccine development remains unsuccessful or has not been prioritized. If the right vaccines emerged after 5 years, imagine its effect on the entire education system. 

Vaccines represent the uncontrolled side of the solution. You don't entrust a country's fate on things you can never control. The real solution is for government to gradually remodel the education system. The online classes are only reactive measures. The direction should have been a framework and a long term plan to facilitate undisrupted learning, self-managing students and a platform accessible to learners of different economic classes. In a country like Philippines where class suspensions are frequent, the concept of undisrupted learning should have been developed long ago. The system is not just designed for covid19. We'll never know how many crisis will affect the country.

I feel sad whenever people in authority think that remote learning is limited on acquiring smartphones, laptops, desktop computers and having stable internet connection. Platform and connection comprise a minor part of a larger concern. For me, this is actually the easiest aspect of remote learning to address. The private sector can be tapped to produce student version of electronic devices, to which government can rent or loan to students. Internet connection can be addressed by each municipality. (Let the councilors, barangay captains, kagawad and SK chairman address this. This is the best time they stop offering free zumba classes to each barangay. They have funds and capabilities to contribute for better projects.) The concern often overlooked are contents. Do we have enough and quality digital content to facilitate learning? I heard a few suggestions of using the local government channel to host online classes. This can work, but it again boils down to content.

Honestly, I don't necessarily see remote learning being totally dependent on digital devices and internet connection. At this time when devices are expensive, books can still be utilized. It's a matter of plan and strategy of how books can facilitate learning. Teachers can be instead tapped to develop tests or assessments tools. I also see the need to unload the existing curriculum. In this time when instruction is limited, education can be focused on the core subjects (reading, writing and mathematics). The most feasible approach I can see is adopting the system of Kumon Learning Centers. While waiting for the vaccine and government's long term plan, the face of education should be on self-learning and skill building.

I hate writing thoughts on the education sector or anything about work. It spoils anything positive left on me. But these days, it's not easy to tolerate actions and decisions further endangering our country. 

Anything positive left on me these days, I found happiness on random chats with my friends, helping entrepreneur friends, finishing a freelance work even if payment remains uncertain, seeing some workplace tasks on auto pilot mode, sending food to my friends, finally having the chance to purchase cotton shirts and pajamas, a trip to the supermarket which often lefts me feeling sick and paranoid as soon as I get home, the view of a fully stocked pantry and seeing surprise parcels to my doorstep.

... and speaking of surprise parcels

I recently received this necklace from Zöey Philippines. Please stay tuned to my next post. I'll be doing a review and a giveaway. I hope this contributes to some positivity. 😊