I don’t know about you but I am so over the online learning debates and arguments, complaints and laundry lists of how schools are getting it wrong. The truth is that we aren’t getting it wrong. Not in the least. We have turned on a dime and we are making a difference with the areas that we can control and let’s face it, we can not control everything.
Let’s take a quick look at how you are getting it right;
- Online learning for all students with access to computers
- Supervising and online learning for those kids still coming into schools
- Paper packs being prepared for pick up and, in some cases delivered, for those kids that don’t have access to technology
- Technology being loaned to as many kids as you can in your community that would not have otherwise had access
- Teachers who may previously not used technology are teaching themselves and being taught by colleagues
- Tech savvy teachers are helping those not-so-savvy tech teachers to learn (and let’s be clear here – there has not been any additional support for our teachers to learn apart from that which already exists in schools)
- Phone calls to check in on the welfare of the kids at home – we know that being home is stressful for many
- Zoom calls, daily in most cases, to connect with your kids, to say hi, to give them a chance to connect with friends
- Answering parent questions in the middle of a full zoom class to help them out because they are struggling too
- Planning and prepping for every day, this month, this term, next term and next year – all without knowing what could be coming at you next
- Juggling your own families, your kids learning as well as your classes
- Taking extra time outside of the school day to ensure the wellbeing of those you love
- Looking after your own wellbeing – we need to be better at this one. YOU COUNT!
Now just for a moment, a little bit of frustration here, let’s look at how the media and politicians – non-educator politicians if I can just cheekily point that out – are telling us we are getting it wrong. Laying blame at the feet of the wrong people.
- Expecting all of the work set to be completed – we don’t. We know how stressed our kids and families are, thank you politicians, thank you media.
- We want schools to be closed to all kids – we don’t. No teacher or Principal I know has the ‘power’ to unilaterally close schools down. Thanks politicians. Thanks media.
- That teachers already have enough ‘holidays’ and they are ‘taking it easy’. We aren’t. Thanks again politicians and media.
- That kids are failing because of all that we aren’t doing. Not true. We don’t have control over the movement of this virus, we don’t control kids home lives, how much support they do or don’t have – this is not on us. It’s a pandemic for goodness sake. Thanks for the support…NOT
So what can we do?
Help change this conversation.
This conversation is about us but does not include us. It does not ask our opinions, professional or otherwise. Be vocal. Let your parents know that you are on the same team and to focus on what counts,
Support your kids.
Love your kids.
Do what you can but don’t get into full blown arguments about the work – the work is secondary to wellbeing right now. Kids are scared. They, like us, don’t know what is coming next so reassure them, we will be OK.
Keep doing what you do best – do everything you can to ensure the learning and wellbeing of your students, family and self.
Listen to parent concerns and reassure the parents that online learning/home learning is NOT home schooling – we don’t want them to be teachers
Try, and I know this is a hard one for some of us – but try to switch off at the end of the school day. That email can wait, it really can.
Check in on your teachers and make sure they are OK.
Trim the fat off essential and non-essential tasks for teachers.
Look after your family and your own wellbeing.
Schools are filled with some of the most resilient people I know. You rise to the challenge. You support every student in your care and you matter. You keep this society rolling, you really do and thank you. Let’s see though if, at our own school level, we can change this conversation so that it INCLUDES us.
You are getting it right. Be proud. Breathe. Get vocal!
Check out other articles Cassie has written here.