COVID-19 has altered life significantly. Social distancing is now the norm and has prompted the restriction of activities, including sports, work, and recreation, and trade. Many countries affected lockdowns, which impeded different sectors, especially tourism, teaching, and trade, among others. Countries have had to close learning institutions indefinitely, leading to the loss of teaching jobs and learning time. I have been affected by the virus in various ways. for example, I can no longer use the physical learning platforms and I have faced loneliness and bouts of depression. However, there exist various measures, including shifting to online platforms, that I can take to prepare me to strengthen my competency to overcome the challenges in my future career.
One of the main impacts of the pandemic on me is psychological distress. According to a mortality and modality weekly report conducted in June 2020, the number of people suffering from depression has increased four times during the pandemic period (Czeisler et al. 69). This statistic is unsurprising owing to the mortality of the condition, how easy it is to catch, and the constant media reports of harrowing experiences with the condition. The mentioned aspects have instilled in my worry and fear over my health. The fear and anxiety have comprised my psychological well-being. While confinement to my home has helped me to avoid infection, the lack of physical contact with my loved ones has caused me loneliness. Talking to them online is not as satisfying as being around them.
I now have to learn through classes online. While it is an effective way of reducing physical contact, thus slowing the spread of the virus, online teaching impedes the forming of personal relationships between teachers and students. However, it is important for learning as it helps teachers understand how best to help students, as well as enables students to seek help from teachers. Therefore, as Sepulveda-Escobar and Morrison mention, the lack of face-to-face teaching makes it difficult for students to learn (1). Indeed, virtual teaching has reduced the efficiency of my learning.
I’m learning to shift to online teaching platforms to ensure that my students continue learning in the event of another pandemic. I am familiarizing myself with various online learning tools like a pallet, Ekstep, Google docs, seesaw, and mind meister where teachers send videos and students can access them at any time. Zoom, Ding talk, and Ted-Ed are among the best platforms since they allow the teacher and students to share the screen and ideas. I have learned to embrace all these tools to continue with my learning. The internet has become a great companion since all the e-learning platforms require stable internet.
Self-discipline and time management were my biggest challenges. With the amount of time I spend indoors, it is easy to fall into bad habits like overeating and idling. With the amount of free time I have, it is possible to be easily distracted. To ensure that I manage my time sufficiently, I decided to set daily goals. Moreover, I must ensure constant communication with my teachers to ensure that I do not miss out on anything. I have also learned to enjoy the flexibility I have now. Moreover, a good diet is important in staying healthy. I have become choosy in the kind of food I consume since it is easy to develop eating disorders during this period.
The world is continually changing due to advances in technology. In the future, education might fully embrace the use of online methods. According to Wijessoriya et al., online teaching can also be used to improve education besides being a mode of coping with COVID-19 (np). Despite altering my life in many ways, covid-19 has given me a chance to acquire new skills
Czeisler, M. É., Lane, R. I., Petrosky, E., Wiley, J. F., Christensen, A., Njai, R., … & Czeisler, C. A. (2020). Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic—the United States, June 24–30, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69(32), 1049
Olmos-Gómez, María Del Carmen. “Sex and Careers of University Students in Educational Practices as Factors of Individual Differences in Learning Environment and Psychological Factors during COVID-19.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17.14 (2020): 5036.
Sepulveda-Escobar, Paulina, and Astrid Morrison. “Online teaching placement during the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile: challenges and opportunities.” European Journal of Teacher Education (2020): 1-21.
Toquero, Cathy Mae. “Challenges and Opportunities for Higher Education Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Philippine Context.” Pedagogical Research 5.4 (2020).
Wijesooriya, N. Romesh, et al. “COVID-19 and telehealth, education, and research adaptations.” Pediatric Respiratory Reviews, 20).