MANILA - Aura Chavez did not expect life in lockdown will end up with her going back to school, and even more surprising, her liking it. With all the chaos around school opening dates and debates on face to face versus remote learning, Aura decided back in April to take action and signed up for several webinars.
“At that time, my two kids were wrapping up school work for Grades 9 and 12. I could see that it was not easy to adjust to online lectures and chasing teachers for clarifications on assignments and lessons,” recalled Chavez. She not only joined all the Zoom meetings arranged by her daughters’ schools to orient parents, she would also sign up for any free webinars on homeschooling and distance education. Thanks to website cookies, she was alerted to more and more learning opportunities via the Worldwide Web and has now enrolled for classes that will earn her a certificate towards a specialization of her choice.
Chavez’s learning journey can be yours too, whether or not you choose to go back to school, or if your kids have started classes or will join the rest of the student population come October 5. I broke down her nuggets of wisdom in five simple steps for you.
#1 Hold that negative comment.
It is so much easier to tear something down than to build it up, and in the early days of learning while in quarantine, many parents were vocal about what they did not like. However, when the schools would ask their opinions, they had nothing constructive to share. “It was a rare time for schools to be so open for feedback, and I found that even the teachers were more welcoming so I did my homework too before speaking up,” shared Chavez.
#2 Forewarned is forearmed.
This is one case where ignorance is not bliss. If the schools are engaging you with orientations on the new normal for learning, make time because your children will definitely thank you for it later (or as the new student in the family, you can thank yourself). It won’t hurt to also write down your concerns in a piece of paper, and research on these topics that concern you so you can raise them during the orientation. If you missed the chance, write them down and send to the principal or dean for response and action.
#3 Stay connected in disconnected times.
A very active Viber parent chat group helped Chavez stay connected during life in quarantine. As a result, she could embrace the new school year with more confidence, not only for her daughters, but also for her new hat as a student. “It’s so true that a problem shared is a problem halved, and that a problem shared is also a problem solved. We had many common issues, and we were able to address them within our group. It also helped us when we were lobbying with the school,” explained Chavez.
#4 It takes a village.
No learning happens in a vacuum so it’s important to have a support group, and the wider the better. Working with other parents, Chavez was able to negotiate for lower tuition fees from the school considering the minimized class schedule and online learning set-up. “We argued that we will bear a great deal of the costs for this school year so our kids can stay connected. And since classes are now only half day or 4 hours versus the 6 to 7 hours in the past, we all strongly felt it should be a shared burden,” Chavez said.
She also encouraged her children to set up chat groups with classmates, and to organize ground rules on what they can post for everyone and what to share privately. Regarding her student life, she asked for her family’s support so her “study time” will be respected.
#5 Walk their path.
The best way to learn is by doing, and Chavez discovered online learning is no walk in the park when she started to join the webinars. “I thought I could join on the dot and realized technology could work against me so it’s always better to sign in 10 to 15 minutes earlier. If possible, do a dry-run. Many lectures can also be so boring, so I began to worry about how my girls will stay engaged. I would also get distracted easily, from an incoming text message or a phone ringing or the doorbell ringing so studying at the dining table is a big no-no,” related Chavez. She has since set up study time and study corner for all the students in their family, including herself.
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Filipina Appointed as New UN Director
So proud to share this piece of positive news about another trailblazing parent and financial inclusion champion Pia Roman-Tayag especially at this time. After 18 years with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), she is moving to New York to the United Nations headquarters. She has been appointed as the new Director of the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). In this role, she will lead the team that supports Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, the incumbent UNSGSA.
Her last role at BSP was Managing Director of the Center for Learning and Inclusion Advocacy. This included a focus on inclusive finance, particularly to craft policies and regulations, develop partnerships for financial education, strengthen consumer protection, build stakeholder relations, and implement the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines and a master’s degree in International Affairs focused on Economic Development from Columbia University. She is also a Fellow in the Fletcher School Leadership Program for Financial Inclusion at Tufts University.
Raise the Philippine flag Pia, and make us even prouder!
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.