Lockdown Education – a Teacher’s Perspective

lockdown education


Lockdown education – useful advice on how to get through the challenges of teaching and learning during lockdown.

This is possibly the most trying time that learners, teachers and parents may find themselves in – ever – but as always, there is a silver lining. We are all in this together. And to make it all a little easier – here are a few helpful tips for everyone…

My previous article focused on using technology to continue the education of scholars during lockdown – but this is challenging for many.

Lockdown Education not easy for all…

I therefore believe that it is essential to include some information regarding the technological disadvantages that many South African schools experience (and the possible implications thereof).

Schools who have adopted e-learning as a medium of teaching are obviously geared up to use technology (as a teaching and learning tool) during this lockdown period. These e-learning institutions have various platforms in place and the majority of staff and learners are trained in the use of these online tools.

However, there are schools that are not in this fortunate position. Many educators and learners in South Africa do not have access to devices, software, platforms, apps, Internet, data etc. 

Facilitating online lessons during lockdown is an enormous and difficult task for many. The lack of online facilities should not make educators (and learners) feel incompetent in any way. There are ways to overcome this challenge. Herewith a few tips for learners, teachers and parents.

Lockdown Advice for Learners

  1. Work with your textbooks and notebooks if you do not have Internet access / the necessary devices.
  2. Draw up a study plan, using your school timetable as a guide.
  3. Set aside sufficient time to complete your work. Do what you can manage!
  4. Show self-discipline by committing to the study plan that you created.
  5. Have a notebook for questions. Write down the things you don’t understand. You can email your teacher, or ask any of your friends that you may be in contact with on your phone. If you don’t have access to any of these forums, keep these questions for when you are back at school again.
  6. Work from Monday to Friday – use weekends for leisure time. 
  7. Get enough sleep. 
  8. Try not to be despondent and don’t give up!  You are not alone in this crisis, even if at times it feels like it.

Lockdown Advice for Educators

  1. If you have access to technology, use it to the best of your ability. Don’t beat yourself up if you are not a “techno-expert”.  Do what you can.
  2. If you do not have access to technology or the Internet, it’s not a catastrophe!  Use your time to plan lessons manually for your classes, as if you were at school. Make notes and summaries that can be given to your learners when you are back at school. Get creative with possible catch up plans and informal assessments. 
  3. If you are in contact with your learners in any way, don’t forget to encourage them.
  4. Take care of your own family too; this is very important.
  5. Take care of yourself!
  6. Limit your working time from Monday to Friday. Weekends should be family time or “me” time.
  7. Know that you are doing a great job under extremely trying circumstances.  Against the odds, you are performing nothing short of a miracle!
  8. You are appreciated and no matter how isolated you may be feeling, you are not alone!

Lockdown Advice for Parents

I may be a teacher but I am also a parent (my youngest matriculated in 2016). I am wearing my ‘mom’ hat as I write this next section: 

  1. Don’t try and do it all – I have listed this point as number 1 on purpose. Go easy on yourself, these are extraordinary circumstances.
  2. You will not able to assist your children with all their subjects. If you are also an educator, you will know that you are a subject specialist in what you teach, not in all the subjects that your school offers!
  3. Guide your children, as opposed to teaching them.
  4. Self-study takes self-discipline. Set boundaries for them.
  5. Monitor their study schedules.
  6. Check if they are accessing their learning materials, if these are online.
  7. If they do not have devices or Internet access, encourage them to use their text books and notebooks.
  8. Motivate them to make summaries for understanding and for future study purposes.
  9. Ensure that they are keeping a record of things that they don’t understand, to clarify later.
  10. Don’t be too hard on your children. Don’t be too hard on their teachers either; believe me when I say that the majority of us are doing the very best we can, with what we have, in a situation that we have never been in before!

No learner, educator or parent could ever have envisaged how our lives would be turned upside down by a virus. It still seems quite surreal. Whatever we are doing as parents, learners or educators is coming from a good place. The desire is to get through this with a common end-goal in mind: to ensure that our children are learning, even against the odds!

A quote from Desmond Tutu, to inspire you to remain hopeful: “Hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all of the darkness.”

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

Stock Image by by Pressfoto / Freepik

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