One Week Into Online Classes, Parents and Students Call for Academic Freeze

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Ryle is a grade 12 student in a private school in Pampanga. Every day, he wakes up early to attend his online classes, which start from 7:30 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. 

“It’s really difficult,” Ryle (not his real name) tells Esquire Philippines

At home, they only have one laptop, which Ryle’s two other siblings also use for their online classes. 

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“I just switch to my mobile phone when my brother’s classes are on,” says Ryle, who has to put up with slow data whenever he connects with his phone. 

But school doesn’t really end at 4:30 p.m. for Ryle. On top of his classes, his teachers assign him modules he has to accomplish within the day.

“Last night, I finished schoolwork at 11 p.m. because I had to accomplish all my modules,” said Ryle.

And that’s just one week into their “blended learning” online classes.

According to Ryle, he hardly learns anything new but feels he needs to accomplish the modules for the sake of having grades. 

Kahit walang matutuhan basta may maipasa,” he says. Never mind that his parents spent a fortune on his tuition fees. 

He is not the only one with the same sentiments. Parents are voicing their concerns online, afraid their children are not learning anything. 

In the following posts, parents reveal their hidden anxieties about distance learning. 

[facebook:https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=159783022393718&set=a.103724521332902&__tn__=%2CO*F][/facebook] [facebook:https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=327048018749308&set=a.101265017994277&__tn__=%2CO*F][/facebook]

I saw this comment on FB.#AcademicFreezeNOW pic.twitter.com/YtDw8VXOY7

— ???????????????????????? ???? | #KDAISBACK (@MarcRizzen) September 3, 2020

Students also made their voices heard on social media with the hashtag #AcademicFreezeNow. 

I’ll just leave this here. “Kahit afford mo pag wala kang natutunan, it’s all useless.”#AcademicFreezeNOW pic.twitter.com/ucRoVpJg5U

— AllergicToBullshits (@NbdyLvsCleo) September 3, 2020

So i just wanna share my situation lang den #AcademicFreezeNOW pic.twitter.com/h19lGbBGcf

— Kurt (@_K_U_R_T_8) September 3, 2020

[facebook:https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=159783122393708&set=a.103724521332902&__tn__=%2CO*F][/facebook] [facebook:https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=159783575726996&set=a.103724521332902&__tn__=%2CO*F][/facebook]

We ain’t learning anymore. ????#AcademicFreezeNOW pic.twitter.com/MxoqEiS3le

— Bianne Elizalde (@marie_bianne) September 3, 2020

[facebook:https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=159783462393674&set=a.103724521332902&__tn__=%2CO*F][/facebook] [facebook:https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=159783292393691&set=a.103724521332902&__tn__=%2CO*F][/facebook]

Inflexible Teachers in Online Classes

What angered many people on social media are alleged posts depicting or purporting teachers to be insensitive and inconsiderate.

In one post, a school allegedly recommended the use of laptops or desktops during online classes. 

My sister’s conversation with her teacher kept bothering me to the point I can’t focus na sa online class kasi maririnig ko na nagpapanic attack mga kapatid ko, as a ate nila I just can’t sit their watching them cry for help. :'( i’m literally cryin’ rn#AcademicFreezeNOW pic.twitter.com/Ep1UmXZZ8T

— Ella (@Ella_3kay) September 3, 2020

Y’all I haven’t even got back to school and this shit is trending but yeah #AcademicFreezeNOW people are selling nudes to buy a laptop, teachers are getting mad at us because of our internet connection like what the actual fuck. pic.twitter.com/AmLh2EpYu8

— ?? ????*?¨? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ?? ????*?¨? (@MitsukiHatsume) September 3, 2020

let me get this straight. Idgaf if y’all gonna call me whatever you want. This photo really triggers me, ya know why? They didn’t say it directly, sugar coating eh? But we dont need genius to understand the thought, #AcademicFreezeNOW pic.twitter.com/b8gRn5IpmZ

— insoManiac (@broken_SonetWP) September 3, 2020

#AcademicFreezeNOW
One of my classmates left the meeting because she was scolded by our subject teacher for not having a book. The words are harsh and insensitive. It broke our heart when we heard her crying while explaining the reason she wasn’t able to get a book. ????

— Jai (@jdntnttlrn) September 4, 2020

Selling Nudes for Laptops

The saddest stories about calls for academic freeze come from students selling their nude photos so they can buy laptops for their classes. 

[facebook:https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=159783545726999&set=a.103724521332902&__tn__=%2CO*F][/facebook]

Teachers Feeling Stressed

But it’s not just parents and students who are stressed out about distance learning. Teachers are also feeling the pressure.

I am to #AcademicFreezeNOW even if I am teacher and even if I know that this means teachers won’t be getting any salary. Teachers need money to survive too, but most of the teachers are receiving salaries just to spend it for the students and this online class setup anyway.

— AskMyca (@MYCAtanunganako) September 4, 2020

crying rn kasi Ma’am Nieves is our teacher sa Earth and Life Science. She’s very passionate about teaching, we can see that. Online classes are taking a toll on everybody’s mental health. Hindi lang sa students pati na rin sa mga teachers. #AcademicFreezeNOW pic.twitter.com/xDFQbl441y

— pearl (@airish_esplana) September 4, 2020

The current setup for distance learning is unsustainable, which is why parents, students, and some teachers are calling for #AcademicFreezeNow. We are living in unprecedented times, and educators must be sensitive to the challenges faced by families these days.  

In many homes, siblings who have the same class schedules are forced to share one computer or mobile phone to attend their classes the whole day. 

To compensate for physical classes, schools dump modules on their students, without regard for the amalgam of workload coming from all the subjects for each grade level. 

Other schools have yet to discover the convenience of , and insist on sending actual test papers to their students. 

What’s worse, some students also pick up physical modules from schools, which they have to physically submit to the school after they are accomplished, defeating the purpose of distance learning

One does not need to be a ministry-trained educational expert to see the setup is stupid and perfunctory.