Safe and work-friendly learning spaces. This is what McDonald’s Philippines is gifting educators this October in celebration of National Teachers’ Month. Responding to a clear need of present times, the fast food company has transformed many of its restaurants’ party spaces into so-called McClassrooms to serve as distance learning venues for teachers. The move is part of the brand’s efforts to support the blended education system the country has adopted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a release, McDonald’s Philippines says the initiative is its “way of thanking teachers for their invaluable contribution in the lives of young Filipinos especially during this time… As teachers feel the brunt of COVID-19, McDonald’s aims to alleviate their present difficulties brought by distance learning through the McClassroom. (The company) recognizes that not all teachers have access to spaces that can be conducive to conducting online classes. With McClassroom, they can work and teach with ease.”
McDonald’s Philippines recognizes the restrictions that COVID-19 has placed on public establishments like schools, along with the challenge on these places to pivot to new strategies for safe operations. With the launch of the McClassroom from October 5 to 9, the company can “co-create and strengthen innovative solutions to foster a safer and conducive working space for teachers,” with the support of its stakeholders and partners.
“Many teachers struggled with difficulties in trying to adjust to the new learning environment to cater to students’ needs,” the company release adds. “One of the challenges faced by teachers in the new setup is having work-friendly spaces where they can focus and concentrate in teaching and preparing educational materials.” Under the work-from-home arrangement, some factors at home can limit or distract educators. E-learning has also revealed limitations such as unstable internet connection.
Each teacher who registers with participating stores can reserve a timeslot and spend up to four hours in a McClassroom. Morning and afternoon timeslots can accommodate two persons each, with teachers getting free McCafé coffee, virtual backgrounds for video calls, and use of WiFi. For the McClassroom’s second leg from October 12 to 15 in select stores, McDonald’s Philippines has also announced its partnership with Smart Communications, Inc., for which the telco company will be providing 200 pocket WiFi units with free one month’s worth of load to teachers.
To date, 219 stores are offering sanitized and quiet working spaces for educators to hold classes. A list of participating branches is available on the McDonald’s Philippines Facebook page. As of this writing, locations in Metro Manila and provinces like Ilocos, Pangasinan, Catanduanes, Masbate, Bicol, Aklan, Negros Oriental, Bohol, and Zamboanga are available. All branches that have McClassrooms were selected based on their suitability to allow proper social distancing and have manageable sound where the overlapping of sound while teaching is reduced.
The company’s post of its distance learning classrooms initiative has been shared more than 20,000 times, with social media users expressing gratitude and admiration for its offer. The 2020-2021 school year formally opened without face-to-face classes this week for close to 25 million students in public and private schools. The blended learning approach incorporates select delivery modalities, such as modules, online learning, and visual resources on television, among others.
“McDonald’s has always valued the contribution of teachers to society,” says the company. “As a brand, we have always made it a point to show our appreciation for their hard work through initiatives like Brigada Eskwela, McDonald’s Ready to Learn, and many others. Alongside every Filipino, we in McDonald’s appreciate and acknowledge the great work that teachers do in guiding students to learn more and be more. We are more than thrilled to be able to provide support to teachers, our everyday heroes, through the McClassroom initiative.”