A new term has started and kids are back at school, but it looks very different to this time last year - classrooms are virtual; schools are online and Zoom is the way forward. Technology is amazing, but with the quirks of zoom calls; printer fails; Canvass assignments failing to load; navigating the myriad of different systems; as well as children missing their friends and comfort of familiar school routine, teachers, students, parents and grandparents are navigating a complicated and sometimes frustrating new way of online learning.
For those parents out there reaching for the ‘help’ button at the start of a new school week, here are some thoughts from other parents and a New Town teacher to help you navigate the new way of schooling!
It may not seem like it sometimes, but we should remember to congratulate ourselves on how adaptable, resilient and patient we all are. New Town resident, Susan Schlimme is an ex-educator with three girls going through education. She says that when it’s frustrating, don’t forget to ‘take a breath’ and remember ‘these are different times with different expectations’. We are all learning that our expectations can change – these are strange times. She also says that there is no right or wrong way of learning and teaching – be good to yourself! We are all doing what we can! Easy things that she says we can do to make a difference to the school day include having easy access to the supplies your children need; and read, read, read!
Another New Town resident and parent, Sarah Yeneza, says that as you help your children to support the online learning and support them to understand what they are being taught, it can be fun to trawl your memory and re-learn what you think you have forgotten.
Although some children feel more comfortable in a remote world, some need the interactions to build confidence and independence. It is not the same, but Susan and Sarah’s advice both say make sure you build in lots of ‘active’ breaks (such as being outside or playing a game) to a consistent schedule (consistency should stretch to a familiar and consistent place to learn).
Don’t forget that our children are learning from us as well as the teacher and the biggest lesson they are learning is how to deal with challenging times.
Tips from the teacher
A final word from D.J. Montague Elementary teacher, Mrs Ford…
First of all, give yourself and your teacher some grace. Glitches happen and you are not going to mess up your child’s education or future just because you can’t get onto Zoom every so often!
Secondly, keep in touch. If you are having any issues, let the teacher know – communication is key!
Thirdly, use the provided schedule as a guide so make the day work according to your schedule – it is not meant to mimic the hours your child would be in a classroom. If your child works better in the morning, set aside time then to complete assignments.
Fourthly, read aloud with your child to help them enjoy reading.
Finally, although this is frustrating at times, please remember it will end. Teachers want to be in the classroom – it’s what they do best and they’re giving it everything they have to make this work, while keeping everyone safe.