The past few weeks have been truly challenging for both students and teachers having to adapt to online learning environments with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc all over the world. Teachers are now tasked to change up their whole way of working with new lesson plans having to be developed to match our new ‘normal’ and ensuring that students are keeping up to date with studying and schooling.
With the official re-opening of schools for Grades 7 and 12 on the 1st of June, the worst is yet to come and teachers need to take extra care of themselves during this new approach to teaching. Just because grades are going back in phases, online teaching is still very much a part of the indefinite foreseeable future.
Don’t be a slave to your screen
Work-life balance is so very important during this time. There were days where we work for up to 15 hours a day! Make sure you stick to a regular routine and give yourself necessary breaks.
Accept that all students are not the same
Like every individual on this planet, students are also having to adapt to their new normal. Some will struggle tremendously and some will come through this with flying colours. Be considerate and be flexible with deadlines and make sure you don’t set your expectations too high. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Reach out to other teachers
Always make sure that you spend enough time with your colleagues. Yes, we know we are all about social distancing, but when you are back at school, have that well-deserved coffee and human interaction. Google Hangouts, WhatsApp calls and messages and even smoke signals to your trusted work-husband/wife can be a very healthy outlet for frustrations. You can also exchange some tips and advice of which methods work best.
Show students that their work matters!
Although you might not be in a classroom very soon with your Grade 7 or 12 students, make sure that you always give them feedback on every piece of work that they submit to you. Don’t just tick and get it over and done with. The more feedback you give the more engaged your students will be!
All in all in the worst of times, always ensure that you see this as an opportunity. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The most important thing to remember is to make time for yourself and keep yourself sane. Family first – there needs to be a point where you switch off and spend quality time with your loved ones, even if you are in the same space every day! Keep your head held high and look forward to our new, very different future!