Lockdown Education – A Teacher’s Lament

lockdown education

BY YVONNE SMITH

At times, I am in awe that I chose Education as a career. It is very rewarding to be part of a group of people who are helping to change the world, one child at a time!

Teaching, in essence, is a challenging profession. It requires balancing various disciplines on a daily basis (teaching, administration, extra-murals, planning, correspondence, meetings, mentorship etc.) Now add to the mix a 5-week lockdown period.  Ask us to do all of the above, but, in the words of Bette Midler, do it from a distance!

Technology as an education tool…

For some teachers, using technology is not really an issue. There are many technologically savvy and even advanced educators out there. There are so many platforms and apps that can be used to reach students. We are spoilt for choice, but the trick is to choose what you are most comfortable with:

1. Online Lessons

You can choose to have online sessions with a whole class, where direct contact with your students allows them to interact with you throughout the lesson; its’s almost as good as being in the classroom. Some of the pitfalls of this method include poor or slow Internet connection, lack of access to data for students and of course the inevitable trolls who attempt to ‘hijack’ your session! Live feeds also enhance the potential for funny or embarrassing moments, but this is not necessarily a bad thing, as our students know that we are human (excluding the fact that we are actually superheroes in disguise).

2. Video Recordings

You may prefer to do a video recording that can be shared with your students. This option allows you to sit at a desk (or even the kitchen table) and use whatever media you may deem suitable to record a lesson. In fact, you can even do this outdoors, to provide aesthetically appealing backgrounds! The benefit of this method is that the students can view this at their own pace and can rewind the video as many times as they need to. The benefit for the teacher is that you can wear your PJ’s if you like – I discovered that if you change the camera inset zoom to 20%, it is very difficult to determine what you are wearing, or even if you have combed your hair.  Make up and accessories are optional extras!

3. Voice Recordings

Of course, you can opt for voice recordings and send this on to your students, with photographs of your lessons – on the plus side, if you do it this way, you don’t even have to get out of bed! 

There is a myriad of techniques that can be used to facilitate remote teaching and learning.  In my opinion, there is no wrong way, just as there is no perfect way.  Most importantly, we are trying to establish some semblance of normality and routine for our students who depend on us.  And for ourselves.  We should remain in touch with our colleagues; we need to spread motivation and encouragement widely (this is a sure-fire cure for isolation frustration).

Remote learning is not an ideal situation, but our circumstances demand that we do whatever we can to promote the spirit of learning, against all odds. After all, that is our gift!

Article written by Yvonne Smith: Educator, Awakener & General Everything
(Port Elizabeth)

Main Image by by senivpetro / Freepik

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