The Face to Face Experience: The Old New Normal

April 15, 2022

by Mary Joy Saludo

From the previous news of Davao City being categorized under Alert Level 1, AISAT has been catering the first batch of limited face-to-face laboratory classes for students of the aviation and aircraft maintenance department since March 7, 2022 until now. It is vital for them to commence these activities as it is a requirement for graduation under CAAP for licensing for both AMT and AET courses. They have been scheduled to attend in batches. Some already virtual graduates are returning to AISAT just for these laboratories in order to prepare for getting a proper license. One for each morning and afternoon batches during Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition to this, planning for actual graduation is underway.

A handful of students were interviewed on their experiences, reactions and thoughts of their face-to-face laboratories. According to them, their initial reaction to the news of laboratory activities being held at AISAT again was that they were excited as it has been such a long time since they were allowed to learn well in a physical setup. One was excited to meet their friends and classmates again, be able to hold the tools personally, and perform tasks written on their lab manual. They agree that it was the right time to start these limited physical classes. One says that the BSAMT students really need the practical laboratory classes as it is useful and important to apply their lessons rather than rely solely on theory. In addition, safety protocols are followed in order for them to enter the laboratory in the first place and attending students are vaccinated so they feel comfortable and safe enough. Another student says that having these physical classes is another step in returning or just adapting to this newer normal.

They claim to have well-adjusted to the mixture of limited physical and virtual classes. They are used to balancing it with their personal lives for the last two years after all. The students think that AISAT could even be ready for full face-to-face classes and conduct big events like intramurals, club day, etc. as long as everyone is vaccinated and following the minimum health protocol and especially if it will be officially approved. School President Atty. Myra Ann Wee-toe Hio herself stated during the Pagdayaw that she hopes it will be the last virtual Pagdayaw. She too wishes to open AISAT’s door to welcome all students of different departments and host events together again.

So far, they are happy with the physical laboratory even though it is only limited at the moment. Students say it has really helped them improve their skills and apply what they have learnt from classes. Another is glad that the instructors can help ensure the students to securely operate the tools and accomplish their assignments and able to help them understand things they could not through online classes. It makes their experience all the more worth it. For now, some do not have any suggestions for improving the current physical classes because they said AISAT is already doing the best it can to make sure that the employees and students are safe and complying. For another, who is already a graduate who attended the limited classes, they feel that AISAT is particularly well-prepared since there has not been any incident regarding the pandemic during any of his classes.

The student really appreciate the effort to make things close to normal again. Another says that they are already satisfied with how AISAT is handling the classes. Much has changed since the actual classes and events pre-pandemic. During the pre-pandemic classes, they had more freedom and in the limited classes, there were a few more restrictions. They said that their daily communication with the other students has changed. Previously, classes and events could be done in large groups. Now, the classes are separated by batches and scheduled differently. They used to be able to talk and sit beside one another comfortably without a mask but now many protocols have to be followed including the priority of social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Their expectations for the next face to face classes is that the school could fully accommodate all of the students and that students will not just depend on virtual learning but also be able to apply the theories into reality. Despite these plans, we must be prepared for anything that may happen in the future as well as hope and pray for the best.