We made it! We have reached the end of the first school term following the pandemic.
Our teachers are completely frazzled and, in most cases, so are the parents. However, it is the teachers who seem to be the victim of negative comments in the press, as unions battle for their wellbeing and try to ensure they can spend the holiday with their families.
Throughout this year, the impact on teachers has been immense. Teaching key workers' children, alongside setting and marking work online for their own classes, trying to keep themselves and the children safe, while in a classroom of 30 and communicating with parents through an online platform.
For parents, they have been juggling working from home, while home schooling their children, downloading work and uploading it back to the platform. Also, in many cases, dealing with job insecurity and reduced finances.
Meanwhile, children have been trying to process the complexities of lockdown life, often fearful, anxious and uncertain. Home schooling, not seeing friends or extended family. Going back to school after a prolonged absence and having to adjust to learning and playing differently.
With the impact of Covid on everyday life, we’ve all had to make adjustments to how we live and work. Frequent changes to regulations, have meant that decisions are made quickly. Everyone in our school communities has felt unsettled, as we have adjusted to the new ‘normal’.
Before we move in to 2021 - a year that, by most people’s predictions, will be better than this one - we wanted to explore how parents and teachers can work together, for the well-being of our children, our teachers and our parents. Here are a few things that we think can help:
1. Online learning platforms
Reduce two-way communication on online learning platforms. By using the platform purely for setting homework during the week, uploading completed work and the teacher’s feedback, we can:
- make sure that important information is quickly accessible
- reduce the interruptions caused by unnecessary app notifications
- allow teachers more time to focus on planning and marking
- allow teachers to have uninterrupted weekend time.
2. Set homework at a regular time
Setting homework and home-learning tasks, that are matched to pupils abilities at the same time each day/week will:
- ensure expectations are clear
- take into account that parents may be working from home
Choosing a Monday or Tuesday for this may also reduce the amount of questions that are posed to teachers over the weekend.
3. Collect children from school promptly
With so much else going on, the last thing that teachers need is to be waiting with children that have not been collected on time. Parents and schools can work together to solve this by using the Fetching app, which not only helps parents to manage after-school childcare amongst themselves, but also reduces administration for schools.
Listen to staff and parents’ views, to assess whether communication between home and school is working effectively and how it can be improved.
The children, more than ever, need a calm environment at school and at home. Wouldn’t it be great if we could reduce the stress levels and workload of parents and teachers, by implementing simple and clear home/school communication strategies?
By listening to each other and working together, we can provide the best possible education and care for our children.