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Reflections on virtual school – one technophobic teacher’s journey

Just over two weeks ago, when I learnt that school would be closing, I was full of trepidation.

  • Secondary students

I find keeping up with technology fairly challenging.  Relationships and face to face interactions are also very important to me and as I teach EAL and children who require Learning Support, I felt that my students were going to have a very difficult time.

My tech-savvy colleagues and school leadership gave us two intensive days of training and allowed us to set things up and by Friday evening of last week, I was feeling slightly better although I cannot say I slept easy on Sunday night. 

However, 4 days into my virtual learning  through the virtual school experience I feel very different.  This is mainly down to my students.  All EAL and Learning Support children in Secondary school have a private channel to their EAL or LS teacher.  They also have three lessons a week when they come together as small groups to go over any help they need with their other subjects.

I am very proud of my students so far and totally humbled by how they support each other.  The quiet EAL child is no longer quietThe Learning Support child who finds it hard to concentrate in a class, is now fully focused.  They are quick to offer support to their unsure peers and together, they try to find solutions. 

I was worried about the distance that would be placed between me and my students but I have to say that I feel closer to them than I ever before.  They are open and honest and as one Learning Support child in year 9 put it ‘My learning is amazing, Miss.  I am able to do my work and not think about the children around me.  I am focused.’  And one year 7 EAL child said to another after she had explained what needed to be done in a particular subject ‘if you don’t know, you can call me.’

I would like to thank my very supportive colleagues for helping me get this far, you, the parents, for your continued trust in the education we provide your children but most importantly my amazing students!  Your attitude and flexibility will get you through this difficult time and keep you learning. 

Stay well, stay home and keep up the good work.  Don’t forget to do things that takes you away from a screen.

 

Jean Kingham

Assistant Head Teacher - Inclusion