“Once a teacher, forever a student.” Learning is a life-long process and it does not stop on the place where I am. Even if there is a distraction in my comfortable way of teaching and learning, the unbreakable aim of ATRIEV will never stop.
I am a well-blessed trainer of ATRIEV and as I look back from my previous years of teaching, I could still remember the times that I went to the different areas of the Philippines from North to South just to help persons with disabilities on their need of assistive technology in order to improve their life. I was assigned to teach Social Media Marketing and in this duty, I met different PWD including visually impaired with different personalities and dreams in life. They came from diverse cultural background and provinces but we just met in a common place. I could not forget my first assignment in Dagupan. That was my first time to be a part of ATRIEV training team. I was very glad to see that persons with mobility problem help their blind classmates in using android and other blind requests which were limited to them. They freely offered their sight to help sightless companions and in return, visually impaired tenderly used their capable legs to assist their immovable friends. All of them were motivated and determined to learn about the use of android. That’s why, their positive vibe influenced me strongly to make my work well. These are some of my unforgettable experiences when we were still teaching face-to-face. However, that memorable set-up changed when the pandemic started. Expectedly, ATRIEV changed its plan including the scheduled nationwide training because it is committed to help and empower visually impaired even in the midst of pandemic. AS response, ATRIEV conducted an online trainings and its former Social Media Marketing Training was changed to Digital Business Basics Training. At first, the adjustment was hard especially that the internet connection was very slow. In order to cope, I need high level of patience and thoughtfulness. If there was trouble, it was hard to assist the learner’s device and it was uncertain if the trainee was listening. There were times also that the learner was distracted in his house, his device was not responding and his connection was slow. But, by God’s grace, I was able to find remedial strategies for those difficulties. With those challenges, I learned many lessons. Now I appreciate the brighter side of online training. I realize that I don’t really need to see my trainees in order to teach and facilitate them. With the right tools and strategies as well as patience, perseverance, thoughtfulness and dedication, it is possible that visually impaired trainer can teach and sightless trainees can learn effectively. In face-to-face set-up, I need great amount of confidence and strength to teach in front but in this online set-up, I just need the virtue of patience.
ATRIEV is still persevering its aim of empowering visually impaired. Since it has extended its helping arms online, as one of its low vision trainers, I truly believe that it can touch more visually impaired lives around the globe driving them to a hopeful and brighter tomorrow.