During the March school holidays, Mr Jose Manuel, a Senior Teacher with APSN Katong School (KS), went back to the Philippines to see his wife and three kids. He expected to be away for a week, but ended up being locked out of Singapore because of COVID-19 border controls.
By some fortunate twist of fate, the pandemic allowed him to continue working despite the distance between him and his students – through home-based learning (HBL).
During the day, while his wife (a Human Resources Manager) worked, he looked out for his children, aged four, eight and 10. From the late night to early morning, he created videos for his students at APSN KS. He only got five to six hours of sleep each day.
“The video lessons I created were different every day. I also wanted to create a sense of routine for my students. I set it up so that we followed the routines that we usually do in class – with the “Ready to Learn” rules, such as sitting properly and being quiet before learning begins. The point was for them to adjust easier. There was a sense of predictability and familiarity even though they are at home,” he says.
APSN KS Principal Ng Puey Koon adds that Mr Manuel inspired his colleagues through the sharing of his HBL resources and support for his students’ learning all the way from the Philippines.
At the time of writing this story, it was still uncertain when Mr Manuel would return to Singapore.