For our children, who often thrive off structure last week brought big changes – and this week is about to bring even bigger ones.
Schools across the country have been thrown into a situation few of us ever expected. As teachers we have shed tears that it is likely to be some time before we see the majority of our class again. As a mum I have worried how I will keep my children engaged and interested at home.
Setting work for my class has been something I have done with trepidation.
On the one hand I want to make sure that there is familiarity and structure available to them. I want to give them opportunities to extend their learning in the way they would have at school.
But the truth is they are not at school.
Their lives have just been turned completely upside down. And for some that will mean they need time to relax, to decompress to simply learn how to ‘be’ in this new life outside of school.
Putting extra pressure on parents who are themselves making huge changes, trying to work from home and juggling children of different ages on top of the normal pressures that running a busy house entails – is the last thing we as teachers want. But we also don’t want them to feel like we have abandoned them or their children, leaving them to find resources without knowing we are there to help.
It’s a balance that over the coming weeks will be a hard one to get right, and one we were certainly not prepared for during teaching training, nor in the years that have followed.
But it is one that I know over time we will get right.
Simply because we have to. Our children deserve us to.
And therefore together – in this brave new world we find ourselves – teachers and parents will find a way to strike that balance and to work together. As teachers our ears will be open to listen to the concerns of our parents, and our hearts will continue to remain open to our children – because that is how we see the children in our classes.
There is unlikely to be a single path that works for everyone.
Over time we will adjust, we will make changes, we will differentiate for the needs of our learners – just as we do in class. We will find new ways to engage them, we will continue to care.
We may no longer see those in our classes each day, but we will relish the contact we do have.
So please if a teacher sets something that doesn’t work, talk to them, be open with them, explain your thoughts. I promise we are not trying to make your life any more stressful than it needs to be. We are all learning together right now – none of us know the rules of this new world we find ourselves in.
We are happy to be flexible. We want to help your children and your family get through this in any way we can.
We are human, and many of us are also parents.
We will make mistakes. And probably, so will you.
But that is ok.
Because mistakes are how we learn x