There is no one-size-fits-all solution… And there will never be

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay
 
I was setting up this old desktop pc, browsing for open source apps to install. Then some news articles began to appear about the current education system.
 
I never rant online. Well, at least I tried to stop a few years ago. Especially if it’s about politics. I restrain myself to take sides & label myself. But this isn’t about politics.
 
In one of the articles that appeared, there was this hashtag in the comments. It read #academicfreeze. I froze. Wait, what? I checked the hashtag to figure out why. Then in my head, I was debating with myself as I normally would. So I stopped to write this down. Anyway, I need to write something because I haven’t done so for a long time.
 
Why are we still here as a nation? Maybe because we’re always looking for collective solutions. A one-size-fits-all solution that will please EVERYONE. Well, there isn’t any. And there will never be any. Why? Diversity. Everybody has their own opinion. Their own mindset. Their own way of thinking. If we always look for the perfect solution, we won’t go anywhere. My mentors keep telling me, “Don’t overthink. Don’t waste your time trying to make everything perfect.”
 
So what do we do then? For me, I always believe in adapting. Science has already proven this over & over again. Adapt to survive, adapt to thrive. In any game, your next move will always be determined by your opponent’s move.
 
Same thing. What has life gotten us into? It’s our move now. This isn’t a game, you say. Yes, I know. It’s just an analogy. But what do we do? Do we move or not?
 
You have that choice. For us, we chose to keep our kids learning no matter the means. If your choice is not to avail of this new style of learning, who’s stopping you?
 
Consider this. Academic freeze. The school year didn’t push through. You are incoming Grade 5. Your age is, say, 11. After 2 years, school resumed. Your age by then is 13 & you would still be Grade 5.
 
No academic freeze. There were online classes. You did not avail. Same thing, Grade 5, age 11. After 2 years, everything went back to how you wanted things to be. You enrolled. Your age by then is 13 & you would still be Grade 5.
 
What’s the difference? In both instances, you grew 2 years older & you were still in Grade 5. You say, “But my peers would already be in Grade 7.” Wait, what? So is this what it’s all about? If this is what concerns you then I think you’re looking at education the wrong way.
 
Education is not a race. It never was, never is, never will be. An old (metal) song I used to listen to said, “This is not a product. We’re not in a competition.” Education is about learning. How did it impact you? Did it change you? Did it improve you? It never is about your age or where your peers are.
 
I know many peers from my college who didn’t finish college in 4 or 5 years. I graduated earlier than them. Where are they now? Well a lot of them are successful. Some are really, really successful. Why? Because they didn’t stop. They kept moving. Even with the hardships. Family, life, finances, nothing stopped them from getting what they wanted.
 
It doesn’t matter how slow you are going. As long as you’re moving then you’re fine. You are going to get there.
 
You’ll say I’m lucky because I had things go my way. Well, continuously educating our kids is our choice. There was this online thing so we availed it. But what if there was an academic freeze? What would I do then?
 
We have an autistic son. His therapy stopped when the quarantine started. It’s financially difficult to go with online therapy. We also don’t have postpaid internet (part of cost-cutting measures). I availed of prepaid internet in my phone. It was 90 pesos for 8GB of data. I turned my phone into a wifi hotspot. I connected my computer to this hotspot. I downloaded learning materials for our son & used them as an alternative to therapy. The important thing to us is that he learns while we figure things out.
 
You’ll say I’m lucky because we have an internet signal. Well, what would you do? It’s your turn now. In your current situation, what would you do?
 
Many years ago, while reviewing for board exams, our mentor would always joke, “Kung hindi mo pa din maintindihan yan, uwi ka muna, magtanim ka ng kamote.” (If you still don’t get it, then go home first & plant sweet potatoes). It was a harsh remark. But you need to learn & accept the principle behind it. If you’re having a very hard time trying to make something work, well maybe it isn’t really for you. Go figure out what you’re good at & thrive from it.
 
So what can you do? You can try urban gardening maybe & then sell your produce? Are you good at cooking? Are you good in the arts?
 
You’ll say, but how is this education? Well, you learn early how to make money. Maybe learn important principles of running businesses. You’ll learn how to thrive in other ways.
 
How about the kids? Well, teach them gardening? Teach them cooking? If they have access to Facebook or Youtube, maybe they can watch educational videos?
 
You see, no matter what happens, the important thing is to keep learning.
 
But the government isn’t doing anything to provide for the teachers. Well, I told you I don’t want to go political. And my point never was about the government & the school system. It was something much more important – YOU.
 
What’s your move?

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