coronaviruschronicles, mental health, teaching

Special Education in the Time of COVID

I am not a special education teacher. I used to teach university students for four years. I taught animation, drawing, Photoshop, Macromedia Flash, Autodesk Maya, and even screenplay writing for animation. The best thing about skills-based courses is that students often gravitate towards them because they know what they want and what they are capable of. The only problem you may have would be the usual lazy bunch or the ones who are online shopping during classes. The classes are in computer labs. Everyone has a workstation. I also prepared online modules for about two years and wrote English tests for Korean pilots for about a year.

I have been teaching second-grade for six years now, though. So, it is what I am the most comfortable with at the moment. Again, I am not a special education teacher but my interest in this line of work was piqued last year when I had a boy I suspected to have some sort of special needs. Mind you, he had not been officially diagnosed. However, he had very short attention span, flapped his hands about, and only did what he wanted to do. On the other hand, he was very smart and could read very well. I used to give him my calculator for comfort, and it kind of worked. Unfortunately, he had also labelled himself as “not smart,” which was heartbreaking.

This morning, I had asked our principal to allow me to attend a special education session. I knew that I would have a few slow readers. The greatest instance was last school year’s as the children went back to face-to-face session after more than a term at home. We are back to online classes this term, though, because of the recent surge in COVID cases (with Delta strain, as well). Therefore, I wanted to know how I could involve special needs children through the virtual teaching setting. There is no fixed solution for all children. A teacher must still discover a child’s quirks and needs. However, there were several resources recommended by the speaker that I truly appreciated:

Other resources given where similar to the ones recommended for children who need some form of audio-visual prompts to learn. Of course, application is going to be a lot rougher as we teachers will find ourselves almost plastered in front of the screen for more than half of the day. I got burned out the last time – as I got obsessive with producing engaging lessons, working from 5 am to 7 pm at times. I would try to do better this school year, especially now that I have so many freelance duties.

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coronaviruschronicles, online portfolio, teaching, web content jobs

Packed Day, As Usual

Today was packed but it is no longer surprising.

I did:

  • an e-book revision (changed the order of chapters)
  • a landing page revision (proofreading, diction, etc.)
  • an optimized article (more than 1600 words)
  • a three-hour Zoom meeting on Hybrid versus Blended Learning (with co-teachers and a resource speaker)
  • 1500 words added to Story 1
  • 1000 words added to Story 2
  • Skipped exercise because of asthma

I will probably be more coherent with my blog post tomorrow. For now, I leave you a list. At least, I have done all of the above.

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coronaviruschronicles, motherhood, teaching

Teacher and Parent Duties

Today is packed with teacher and parent duties. In the morning, after I was done with a couple of articles (a new one and a revision of another), I attended a meeting where our principal updated us as to what The Ministry of Education plans for this school year. My co-second-grade teacher and I had to put together a new timetable that takes in consideration both synchronous and asynchronous classes.

Later on today, I have to attend a Zoom meeting for secondary school parents. There will be a discussion on Pfizer vaccination for students ages 12 to 17. I am looking forward to this, as my son has asthma. I have been waiting for a chance to get him vaccinated. He will have his own Zoom meeting – a karate session with his dojo since their instructor and fellow dojo members would not be allowed to meet face-to-face. Teacher and parent duties have to adjust to new setups that arose due to COVID-19.

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coronaviruschronicles, mental health, self-care, spirituality, teaching

Reflection and Self-Care Day

Today’s teacher training focus was self-care. Our school chaplain led us into reflection. It truly focused on the inner life (mental and spiritual), with the use of a Ted Talk video and a YouTube video. The setup fits into the narrative that teachers should be flexible about how we tackle our new teaching arrangements. Some teachers open up about their present anxieties.

Being used to “religious” people telling others to pray instead of getting therapy, I was pleasantly surprised that our chaplain recognized the need to get rid of these toxic judgments. Instead, he recognizes that everyone needs to take care of their mental health and that we need to get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. People immediately judge those who are suffering from some kind of psychosis or depression. They jump to the conclusion that it must have been drugs or a punishment from heaven.

Unfortunately, I am not the right poster child for self-care. Today, I still wrote 3 short articles, one longer one, and 1500 words for my creative project. I am anxious when I am not doing anything. I need to face my reluctance to give myself some mental silence and reprieve.

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coronaviruschronicles, teaching

Ways to Help Teacher Friends during COVID Lockdowns

So, instead of being on self-imposed lockdown today, I went to school in-person to help out fellow teachers go over the use of Google Classroom. I wore two surgical masks and a mottled shield. After I had sprayed it with alcohol, streaks and spots covered the whole thing but I still trudged on and walked to school in a haze.

It made me think. Teachers might be popular when some parents had a brilliant light bulb moment, but they often get the short end of the stick. It is worse now that I am a primary school teacher. When I was still teaching university students, I do not even get to meet the parents. My teenage students had to answer to their parents when they got terrible grades.

Anyway, here are some ways to help teacher friends during COVID lockdowns:

  • Check up on them. Are they okay? Let them open up if they got COVID but do not pry. Do not let them feel guilty by saying things like, “You could have been vaccinated” or “You could have been more careful!” Full disclosure: I am fully vaccinated and I am rarely out and about. My home is my ultimate shield.
  • Post things on social media about what you do. Some teachers are not oversharers like me. So, I make it a point to post that, hey all, teachers are working. I annoy my Facebook friends to death, I suspect, that nobody would comment about “No, you possibly could not be working that hard.” I wake up at 5 am and sleep at 11 pm. What about you, then? I work most of the time I am awake, too.
  • Help the non-tech savvy with one-on-one tutorials. Some do not want to slow down other teachers during group sessions. So, they just fret on their own.
  • Provide slides or videos for those who want to learn on their own. As an introvert, I know how awesome that feels – making all my mistakes without an audience.
  • Kind words and encouragements work well, too. Unfortunately, I doubt I should be sharing cookies and cakes at this point when people are weary about where your hands had been.
  • Plan lessons together, especially if suddenly all of you are working completely online instead of the usual face-to-face.
  • Wear your mask when talking to them in person. (I double mask!) You never know if you have been infected, or if they had been infected. Let us protect each other.
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coronaviruschronicles, online jobs, online portfolio, teaching

Promoting my Online Portfolio (and other Efforts)

I noticed that most of my blog visitors this year ended up here because of my Yonipp review. A little update: I am still working with them. Pretty awesome, right? Well, I just have to make sure I meet all my deadlines. I am juggling work with them with my full-time job as a teacher. I even have other clients (two other regular ones). Actually, these things have been made possible by the new work setup. There is a rising number of COVID cases here in Dominica. So, teaching may start online this October. There is nothing great about COVID, let me be clear, but I am always trying to use my time wisely, grab every opportunity, and earn extra. Jobs are often on the precipice these days.

For those who are interested in hiring an academic, SEO, or creative writer, please check jabelericabercasio.com. I plan to add more samples there whenever I get time.

I am also writing a fantasy romance via Dreame under the name Sylvaine 8. It’s definitely not going to win any awards, and in no way is the book literary. I do need some feedback on it for those who read books on the Dreame app. The title is The Royal Witch.

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coronaviruschronicles, teaching, web content jobs

Work, work, work…

I do gig jobs because of the freedom, flexibility and autonomy.


I have a regular job for the financial security.


It means sacrificing leisure time, but I try to find something enjoyable in what I do. I learn a lot even from the lower-paying assignments. I have an IT background, but I have to admit that I am afraid to get back to it. IT gigs and visual arts projects are time-consuming, unless you are still regularly practicing the skills needed – but they are the ones that have the best potential to earn more.

I write at 1000 words daily minimum and 7500 words maximum (crazy headache afterwards). So, I have been sticking to writing. There are some crazy clients out there, too. I did an English to Filipino translation that I was not paid for. I even adjusted the layout of the brochure for the same client. Not one dollar paid. This was last year. The client said hello again. I did not respond. Never again.

What I am working on at the moment:

  • a set of 10 SEO articles for client A
  • a 2500 word article for client B (I just finished a 20k ebook and a 6000 word article for them)
  • 1 2000 word article for client C (who sporadically gives me assignments through the month, usually up to 10 articles)
  • a web novel (personal project)
  • lesson plans to prepare for the delayed opening of the school year (October, instead of September) because of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases here in Dominica

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personal, rant, teaching

Teaching When There’s A lot on Your Mind…

So, I am not really a bundle of joy lately but at least I have children at school who make me smile. Of course, admittedly, there are also those who test me so much that I sometimes end up wondering if I could have handled things better. Teaching college/university is much easier. I taught using a projector using software (Maya, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator or whatever – yes I miss teaching them) that catch students’ attention on its own. I taught in an air-conditioned lab and janitors cleaned up after me. I miss laboratory room T407 where I used to practically live. Teaching primary school is very challenging in it being the fundamentals, the basics, and the stepping stone. I hope I can master it, because right now I don’t think I have yet. One has to be careful. I am almost 35 and I can still remember a teacher who said something to me in not so nice a way when I was 9.
teacher
I never dreamed of becoming a teacher in the first place(i had other dreams: journalist, nun, doctor, animator) but I ended up teaching university for three years and now teaching primary school for almost one school year. It must be destiny, and I hope I could make it worth the while not just for me but for those I am teaching.
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