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An opportunity to celebrate.

I would like to congratulate all of our teachers and school leaders for exceeding the expectations of remote learning. In my opinion, you are doing an amazing job during unprecedented times. There have been some amazing stories in the news, on social media, and through the many conversations that I have been having with schools. 

Like thousands of other families, our family also started ‘remote learning’ last week. As much as it was a little daunting, in a really weird way it was also very exciting! 

During all this uncertainty, I have supported the many predictions, views and concerns of teachers as we moved away from the classroom and into a remote world. For obvious reasons, we were all worried about the absence of connection with our students, but especially our most vulnerable. Knowing the value of relationships in the learning process, we stepped into the brave new world of teaching via Zoom, Google Hangout, Webex, Teams and the many more online platforms. There was always going to be a few glitches along the way but on the whole, there was always an underlying feel of confidence and a belief that schools could make it happen. One of the big challenges was that our students may not have been able to do it alone and we would need to rely on our parents and carers at the other end. 

Without a doubt, parents are an important part of the education journey. Despite knowing and understanding this importance, it has been getting more and more difficult for parents to connect to the classroom. Less parents are volunteering for reading, helping out at extra curricula activities, canteen and the wide range of other activities that help our schools thrive. Due to the increasing demands on parents and families, connection to the school has often been a drop off at the gate and wave good-bye, before a pick up at the end of the day. It’s not every parent and it’s not about blame, but unfortunately it’s the reality.

Over the last week, I’ve have seen parents take connection to a new level as they are actively working in partnership with schools. Many parents have stepped up and embraced the expectation to fulfil their role in the learning process. We are hearing great stories of parents re-learning concepts, working with teachers and doing their best to ensure the home reflects the classroom. As teachers, we know this wouldn’t be an easy task. 

I understand that it would be demanding on parents and maybe it’s not sustainable when schools return to being ‘normal’. Despite this, let’s take it for now and celebrate it. I’m sure it will help us to further build connection and trust into the future.

There are lots of challenges around isolation, but I also think there are lots of opportunities that are starting to present. Teachers are doing an amazing job and it’s great to watch our parents work alongside our schools and embrace the challenge together. 

If you have seen your parents step up, I’d encourage you to try and find a way to give them a pat on the back. Everyone enjoys a little bit of positive affect every now and again, especially during difficult times.  

Finally, I don’t believe this strong connection happened by luck. This has happened because of our great teachers and principals who embraced the difficulties and reassured their students and their parents that everything will be fine.

This happened because they trust you. Well done!