Behind every challenge is an opportunity or even opportunities

by Minda Sexon

Integrated Developmental School (IDS) of the College of Education started year 2020 with a collaboration among its faculty, parents and alumni with a common goal: the IDS students’ welfare, oblivious to the coming of COVID- 19 and the challenges that it has brought along.

On January 21, 2020, a seminar entitled Distressed or De-stressed: A Talk on Parenting the Gen Z Kids was sponsored by the IDS Parent-Teacher Association Foundation, Inc. (PTAFI); indeed, a partnership between these two groups of education stakeholders, with the resource speaker Dr. Joan Mae Perez-Rifareal, a celebrity psychiatrist who is an IDS alumna, Batch 1993. The forging of a threefold cooperation – teachers, parents and alumni – commenced.

On the other hand, a series of mental health lectures for the students sponsored by the Iligan Medical Society started on February 11, 2020 and no schedule followed since then because on March 12, 2020 all classes in MSU-IIT were suspended due to the rising concerns on COVID. However, on July 6, 2020, a seminar: Mental Health and Coping during COVID – 19 for Teachers was given virtually by Dr. Rifareal to the CED-IDS-IRDA faculty.

COVID-19 might have put the MSU-IIT students’ campus life on hold, but, definitely, it was not able to stop the concern, generosity and understanding of the IDS faculty, staff, parents, alumni, sponsors and the MSU-IIT administration for the IDS students. The IDS ExeCom, faculty members and staff continued doing their responsibilities, even in a skeletal set-up and discussed matters through virtual meetings, and the MSU-IIT and CED administration never waiver in giving their support to the steps that IDS was taking.

When MSU-IIT decided to open online classes to start in September 2020, IDS immediately prepared and published an approved Online Teaching-Learning PRIMER – Learn and Enhance knowledge and skills; Address and Deliver what is needed (LEAD) – to guide the teachers, parents/guardians and students in facing the new reality of education. The IDS Graduation Committee prepared a Social Media Tribute to IDS Batch 2020 Graduates to virtually celebrate the Commencement Exercises of the Grade 12 students’ Senior High School. The parents and students were invited to attend an online orientation on September 2 -Grade 7 in the morning, Grade 11 in the afternoon; September 3 – Grade 8 in the morning, Grade 9 in the afternoon; and on September 4 – Grade 10 in the morning, and Grade 12 in the afternoon. Then on September 7-11, 2020, IDS conducted dry run classes in order to see how the teachers and students are faring with the online – synchronous and asynchronous – teaching-learning process. On September 12, 2020, IDS had a virtual general faculty meeting to collate all the concerns. What came up was an overwhelming generosity and kindness. PTAFI helped the teachers in buying their laptops; the teachers pitched in amounts to buy gadgets for some students, pay the loads for some students’ WiFi data, and buy printing materials for IDS- Integrated Rural Development Academy (IRDA); the CED-IDS administration lent some students desktop PCs; and PTAFI, the alumni and private individuals continued their support for their scholars.

In short, COVID-19 got the best out of IDS; it has brought out one of the best attributes of man: KINDNESS.