Submitted by Jenneht Ann Oscena, ICF Philippines
Coaching provided to teacher of a school in the Philippines who were transitioning from face-to-face to online instruction

The COVID-19 pandemic forced teachers into drastic change in the Philippines educational system in order to adapt to the new normal and social distancing guidelines of the WHO, health experts and the government. Teachers are considered essential workers in the Philippines since, despite the ongoing increase of COVID-19 cases in the country, they had to keep going to the schools and the universities in order to prepare the modules that they would need in order to transition fully from a 100% face-to-face classroom setup to 100% online classes. 

A majority of schools and universities in the Philippines use face-to-face classroom setups because of the unreliability of the internet connection in the country. Conducting online classes was almost unheard of before the pandemic, except for the very few schools that offered specific distance-learning courses. For the teachers, this is the greatest hurdle since passing their board exams. It took so much learning and unlearning for all the teachers, as most of them are still technologically challenged and working in a developing country.  

The ICF Philippines Chapter decided to give the teachers the Gift of Coaching this year in order to support them mentally and professionally by giving them a safe space to process the major challenges they face and to help them transition and cope with all kinds of stress, time management issues, etc.

The school picked 20 teachers whom they felt needed additional support through coaching, and they were partnered with 20 ICF Philippines coach volunteers. Everything had to be done virtually, including the launching and pairing of the coaching partners.

Before they started with their sessions, we gave the teachers a short presentation of the kind of coaching that we do so they would know what to expect. We also gave them a chance to ask questions and clarify what they didn’t understand. None of the coachees had ever received the kind of coaching that we offer, so they were all very excited.

The sessions made them realize the true power of coaching. It was transformative, as they came to understand that they have the answers within them and became accountable to themselves. The coaches became partners they could trust to guide them through the difficulties they faced. And because they were heard and validated through the pandemic, it did a lot of good for their mental health. Some of them were not even aware of the things that were truly bothering them in the face of all the uncertainties. This newfound self-awareness even brought about breakthroughs to some of them. They were truly grateful for the gift of coaching that they received and hope for the chance to be coached again.