The anxiety increased as Monday approached. School was resuming after our two week Easter school holidays, although it would be more suitable to call it a break. With government movement restrictions in place, and fines if caught breaching them, this year there were none of the usual holiday activities. It had been announced that schools would be open for Term 2, but eligibility requirements had to be met in order for students to physically attend – those whose parents had to attend their workplace were able to come to school, but the majority of students would be learning at home for the first five weeks. We’d spent the last week of Term 1 preparing to go online in Term 2, but you can never feel fully prepared when starting something new and unknown. We had done the best that we could with what we knew, and we had to hope that we had done enough. Many schools around the world had been operating this way for weeks, if not months, but it was new territory for us.
As I look back on the week of teaching in a way I never envisioned I would, was never trained to do, and had no experience in, I feel proud of what has been accomplished. Before I share my reflections, I thought I would share a rundown of the week using gifs – see if you can get the feel for how each day went.
Monday; Tuesday; Wednesday
And another for Friday, after school of course!
Moving on from that bit of fun, I'm going to share one success, challenge and surprise for the week.
Using digital platforms that our students were familiar with definitely eased the transition to learning from home. Students continued to use iTunes U to access lessons and learning resources, and Seesaw to submit their work for feedback. We also used Seesaw to check in with students daily, monitor their well-being and track their ‘attendance’ (as required by the Department).
Supporting parents with the online learning and accessing digital platforms. Whilst the students are familiar with the platforms, some still struggled without teacher support, so we’ve needed to upskill parents in this area to enable them to support their child/ren at home. We’ve been in contact with parents, and students, via emails, phone calls, Seesaw messages and Facebook posts, to answer questions or share as much helpful information as we can.
We’ve ‘heard’ more from some students than we have in person all year! They’ve engaged more in sharing and conversation via digital platforms than they have face to face at school. This is something we will keep in mind moving forward, to ensure we continue to incorporate a variety of modes and opportunity for student voice.
An Expression of Gratitude
The collective effort from parents supporting their students, and colleagues supporting each other, contributed to the success of the week. Our Year 4 Crew once again worked collaboratively to continue to develop teaching resources, and assisted each other when needed. I’m truly grateful to work with such an amazing team.