24 April 2020 – Message from Headmistress to Parents
CRISIS SCHOOLING BY THE ETHICS CENTER
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken a way of life we previously took for granted – going to work, celebrating weddings, seeing friends and wandering aimlessly down fully-stocked supermarket aisles.
However, one of the biggest changes for many parents is that children are being urged to stay home. Overnight, parents have had to become teachers, along with everything else they are attempting to squeeze into already overfilled schedules.
Where a few weeks ago home schooling was a vague and unfamiliar concept, it’s now become the norm. Parents scrambling to find a new routine where kids are at home while continuing their education.
The juggle of schooling at home
What’s happening here is not home schooling, it’s crisis schooling.
Parents who home school have made a conscious decision to educate their child at home. Those parents have spent time organising their resources and routines, deliberating over how to ensure an optimal learning environment for their child, specific to their own needs. Home school parents often have networks of other parents who have also chosen this option, and together, they collaborate and socialise their children.
Crisis schooling is different.
With very little notice or choice, suddenly children are home. Crisis schooling has opened a range of dilemmas which parents are now facing, including:
• “How do I prioritise between helping my child learn and continuing to do my job?”
• “I’ve always tried to teach my kids health and fitness and limit screen time but giving my child a device is now the
only way I get a break.”
• “My wife and I are both working full time while the kids are at home, which one of us must sacrifice our work time
to learn with the children?”
There are no ready-made answers to ethical challenges. Instead, we have to respond to the circumstances and relationships at play – which will be different for each of us – and try to balance these with our personal ethics, our purpose, values and principles.
It may help to keep in mind some advice from Greek philosopher, Socrates, who maintained that in order for education to occur a person must accept what they do not know. Parents don’t know how to be teachers, except for those who are trained to be so. Let’s not pretend to ourselves or our children that we’re fully equipped to do this. We’re not.
So how to navigate these new challenges?.
As parents, we can use the resources that teachers have readily made available. We can admit to our children that there are some things that we don’t know how to do, and that we need to figure it out together.
What we can control
What parents do know is how to love and care for their children. Parents understand their children better than anyone else in the world and can provide them with the love and support they need.
During this incredibly uncertain and anxious time, that really is their most important need.
Rather than being overly concerned with how much they are learning, whether or not they’re reading enough, practicing fractions or working on their fine motor skills, let’s focus on our children’s mental wellbeing.
The world is a stressful place right now and anxiety is contagious. Children need to feel supported and comforted. Home is supposed to be a safe space for children, regardless of what is happening outside in the world, and this applies today, more than ever.
So, let’s throw out the rule book on schooling. Let’s remember we are in crisis and although we have moved rapidly to this point, we do not have to adjust with the same speed to a new home-based education system. Do what feels right for your family, even if that means throwing out the schedule. Try not to compare what you are doing to others posting about their experience on social media. What works for one family, might not work for yours.
Human beings are incredibly resilient, children especially so.
We’ll all adapt. One day soon, normal life will resume – with a much greater appreciation for the things we took for granted before. What our kids will remember is the extra time they got to spend with their parents, the extra cuddles, the extra stories.
Right now, let’s all take a deep breath and cherish the closeness that comes with distancing.
As a school:
We miss our children
We miss our classrooms
We miss chatting with our children about their lives
We miss talking about books and poetry with them
We miss their smiles and their laughter
We miss our daily routines with our children
We miss dancing and singing with our children
We miss our chats with the parents when they visit the office
We even miss being able to go into the office to make photocopies and have a quick catch up with our colleagues
We miss teaching
Term 2 Begins
Telfair teachers worked very hard creating printed “work from home” packs for each class with customized lessons for the next two weeks. Parents came by the school ( masks & physical distancing a la rigor:) on alphabetically assigned days to pick up their children’s work.
Our Students at Home
Term 2 – home edition begins and our students jump right in! Happy at work on their lessons and sharing some favorite books.
Year 5 and 6 children have the opportunity to go on an overseas school journey every two years. Children do a variety of Fund Raising events collecting money towards this trip.
Our last trip to Rodrigues was in 2016.