Over the past two weeks, it really has been lovely to connect with a number of teachers across the country, albeit, through the screen. On all occasions, our focus has been on structured literacy and how we can be charging forward with our professional learning and developing consistent practices in our respective schools. There has been an underlying current of doubt about this online learning caper and how teachers might set themselves up for rolling out online learning for their students.
So many options. So much advice and OMG where do you start?
I am certainly not a techie guru but I am a very logical thinker and in my mind what might be helpful here is structure, routine, transparency (between teachers and parents), realistic expectations and a hang of a lot of collegiality.
When I consider our children with learning differences, routine and realistic expectation is absolutely essential for them.
With this in mind and on the back of a conversation had with a talented team of teachers and leaders, I have created an example outline of what a week's worth of online teaching and learning might look like. You can access that and elaborations on the outline here.
It is simple. It does not involve teachers being in front of their students for hours, planning for hours and or creating a whole lot of activities for hours.
Keeping it real at this time when the focus is on “Getting Through” is crucial. Many of our teachers have their own children (of all ages) at home. To think that they can be teaching from 9–3 in my mind is unrealistic. This doesn't mean our children will miss out on a great education during this time though.
Enter…. a fairly simplistic structure, a routine where everyone knows what is going on, plenty of downtimes (for everyone), ideas for suitable independent tasks and a bit of creative thinking around how we might set up collegial project-based focuses each afternoon, and I hope you’re feeling a little less overwhelmed.
Work smarter, not harder. Work together, not against one another. But most importantly be sure as teachers to take care of YOU in all of this. You are amazing each and every one of you, and we are so very grateful for your resilience to shift (with such precision) to this online platform for our children's education and quite frankly our sanity as parents.
I hope this basic template helps to rock you (gently) out of any online overwhelm you may be experiencing. You’ve got this.
Go well x