Skolan och covid-19: del 8

Vi har samlat ett antal exempel och reflexioner från människor som arbetar i skolan, ett försök att spegla den här tiden om än i begränsad omfattning – från när och fjärran, högt och lågt, negativt men också positivt ibland – och vi publicerar några i taget och detta är del 8. (red)

Frigjøringsdagen…

Den 12. mars slo bomben ned. Vi skulle dagen etter stenge skolen – på ubestemt tid. Elevene skulle i ukene fremover få undervisning hjemme. Lærernes eneste kontakt med elevene skulle gå gjennom datamaskinen. En datamaskin elevene våre heldigvis hadde fra før. En datamaskin elevene, og lærerne, heldigvis hadde brukt i noen år allerede.

Som skoleleder fikk jeg følge denne prosessen på litt avstand. Jeg hadde videomøter med mine lærere. Jeg fulgte med på ukeplaner og i klasserom på nett. I avisene kunne vi lese om mer eller mindre vellykkede undervisningsopplegg. Vi kunne lese om mer eller mindre forberedte skoler og kommuner.

Jeg hadde lærere som laget ukens fysiske ‘challenge’. Elevene måtte forsøke å utføre samme halsbrekkende stunt, filme seg selv, og levere inn en videosnutt. Lærere satt med sine egne småbarn på fanget og måtte undervise elevene sine samtidig. Lærere jobbet fra morgen til kveld med ukjente metoder for at elevene skulle få best mulig undervisning og best mulig utbytte av denne uvanlige undervisningen.

I nyhetene var både statsminister og andre politikere ute og brukte ordet ‘dugnad’. De snakket om hvordan vi nå sammen måtte jobbe for å holde dette viruset i sjakk. På veldig kort tid måtte norske lærere snu om og gjennomføre en dugnad helt ulik noen annen de hadde vært med på tidligere. Lærerne gjennomførte med glans og viste alle våre foreldre at fjernundervisning av hele klasser, samtidig som man beholdt fellesfølelsen, var mulig.

Allikevel er det utvilsomt gjensynsgleden som huskes sterkest. I over èn måned var elevene hjemme. I over èn måned måtte elevene klare seg med minimal kontakt på tvers med klassekamerater. Det var en elektrisk stemning i skolegården den dagen alle elevene dukket opp igjen i skolegården – fulle av forventninger. De skulle få se klassekamerater igjen. Stemningen var til å ta og føle på. Alle var blide. Alle var glade. Alle smilte fra øre til øre etter hvert som de rant inn i skolegården og fant sin plass blant resten av klassekameratene.

Thor-Ivar Pute Eriksen

Rektor Vettre skole, 1 – 7

Asker kommune like utenfor Oslo

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A Remote Learning Similitude: You are NOT Kevin Costner and this is NOT Field of Dreams

2020 has presented educators around the globe with a multitude of challenges, one of the most prominent has been ensuring quality pedagogy during ‘Remote Learning’. 

It is important to note that despite the strong negative narrative there are several potential positive aspects to home-based ‘remote leaning‘. Learning at home can allow unique opportunities for students to engage with nature, connect with their family and focus on physical health. However, the 1989 classic film Field of Dreams provides educators with a timely warning!

In the film, Kevin Costner’s character undergoes a great change by moving from the city to live as a farmer. After hearing a voice saying, “If you build it, they will come,” he cuts down his cornfield and builds a baseball diamond. Movie magic ensues and baseball heroes of a bygone era appear and play.

The world has experienced great changes too, just like Costner’s character. We shifted from our familiar schools and classrooms to new and unique learning locations. But we are NOT in a Hollywood film and just because “we build it” it does not mean students and families will come and learn. Remote learning is a complex balance of online content and personalised interactions.

Remarkable teachers have ensured that effective pedagogies are in place wherever possible. They know that unlike Kevin Costner’s magical baseball field if they just build an online place to learn students won’t magically arrive and educate themselves. A strategic, structured approach is required.

To help students’ experience great learning, remarkable teachers have had to be supported and enabled by remarkable leaders, following the concept of Seth Godin’s ‘Purple Cow Theory’.

We also know that the expertise of teachers will never be matched by parents. Teachers are professional experts with motivational skills to engage reluctant learners, in individual, small group and whole-class settings. Many parents will not have these attributes. So, to best support students, we also need to ask ourselves the question, how we can best upskill and support parents and carers. Already innovative organisations, like Insight Education Group, have established #HomeLearningCoach innovations to best support families.

It is of utmost importance that both teachers and parents work together to implement practical and evidence-based solutions to the challenges. It is only together that we can best support the learning of our students!

Brett Salakas,

#aussieED, Sydney

NSW, Australia

__________________

I taught throughout   

I desperately want to suspend judgement and resist the temptation to conceal the full architecture of my experience of the last 10 months beneath the earth of personal myth-making. I left China in January for the New Year Holiday. I couldn’t return. I went from Finland to the UK and taught for 6 months from the home of my elderly relatives. It was a time of waking in the small hours to accommodate my students’ needs back in China in a wholly different time zone. Once fully done with China, I came to Central Europe and began teaching in a bilingual school. Returning to classroom teaching and busy city-life, the whole family caught Covid in September. I lost my sense of smell (it still hasn’t returned). Our experience was mild, but the fear was stifling. We recovered (apart from my sense of smell). I taught throughout (from isolation during the mild illness – entirely my choice – and back in the classroom once clear).

There was a point at the beginning of the illness, at night, when I asked my wife if she wanted me to isolate myself and sleep downstairs (I had the virus; we didn’t yet know if she had). I went downstairs and made my bed on the sofa in the spare room. We turned in for the night, closing two doors, not one.

Half an hour later, crying, she asked me to return to our bed. I did. We said very little, but knew that we had said everything.

My body is not entirely my own. It has worked so hard these past 10 months to keep itself alive – independently of me. It is aching. It has been peppered raw with Covid, my nostrils still caked with a metallic God-knows-what.

But how we choose to populate our separate days and what sacrifices we are prepared to make for a shape of life that never ceases to game our hearts into joy. Well.

Throughout all of this storm of spores, I have been, am and will be a teacher. And I reserve the right to remain happy and proud.

@whatonomy   

Teacher of English Language and Literature

UK (but really China) and CZ

 

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