The past couple of months have been an exciting time fraught with change, mixed with public hysteria and fear.
As teachers, we have been strangely, but not unduly, noted as essential workers on the frontline of assisting in the fight against COVID-19.
We have been tasked with the job of teaching online, for many of us for the first time, and doing it effectively, opening the doors of our classrooms to a whole new category of educational consumer – parents.
Teaching with technology is not new, in fact, it is hard to be an accredited teacher these days without evidence of attainment in that section of the curriculum.
But teaching students remotely is very new and there had to be a lot of training to present lessons in such a way that will engage and instruct.
Personally, it meant dipping into my previous experience teaching with the Virtual Selective School provision (xSel) and the first two years of Aurora College.
Those five years gave me a great deal of practical knowledge, but kids, like society, have moved on. They moved from being email and texting students to Instagram and Snapchat students. This meant teachers had to break the content down into small enough bits so that they could grasp it.
And there has been another struggle, which Bill Gates has spoken about. “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids to work together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
We also had to deal a lot with students who need reassuring, motivating them that though the world may change, there is a consistent bedrock, a community that they will be one day interacting with.
The end result of the last eight weeks with at-home learning is that I have enjoyed observing the resilience of our students who did a wonderful job adapting to all the challenges presented to them, and realising that they are valued by the world.
By Jay Quince