- Debra: Trying to get students to access online learning has been a struggle. I know 3/4 of my class have not done anything. We've been told not to teach the students that have been coming to school but I've found that really hard and have helped them any way I can.
- Anita: Difficulties include being isolated from students who rely on school as a safe platform to learn and a distraction from home. They have been silenced in fear of sharing their feelings. There has been a lot of support from my school and my peers. I just hope that the non-teaching community respect the hard work and hours we do to support their child instead of thinking “teaching is a holiday”. It’s a vocation for most of us not a job and we do it for love not for profit. I would like everyone to remember to “be kind “ and support each other through this challenging time . Thank you.
- Jane: Calmer without staff meetings. Great support & sharing with colleagues (known & unknown) online. Concern about how students are coping are in the forefront every day. Greater time spent on checking in with kids about social & emotional well-being. Academic progression has been less of a focus than keeping kids ticking over & engaged in learning. Longer hours for work preparation. Supervision of students at school whilst juggling online groups and preparation of offline learning packs. Difficulties with poor local internet. It has been more important to connect kids to each other ever day than to push an academic agenda. There has been a huge variation between how different families & children have coped and have engaged with learning because of access to technology; internet; patient, available & willing supervision and the value placed on learning. Any learning gaps & curriculum gaps are easily remedied but future concern will be on their adjustment to school and in awareness of social & emotional problems.
- Jenny: It has been terrible trying to organise activities for children with disabilities and to help them to remain focused when online. Schools needed to go back this week instead of another two weeks away
Inclusive Education Role
- Stacy: I have had to become IT savvy, think outside the box and use a lot of guessing skills when preparing lessons or tasks. Teaching students with additional learning needs is typically done in the moment as you need to gage their understanding before applying supports such as scaffolding, rewording, explanations... this has needed to be done in a way where I’ve had to predict possible problems they may have and incorporate them prior to online learning. Things like providing audio to power points and documents, frequently checking in with students, parents and classroom teachers or simplifying instructions to access learning. Other issues have been how to teach students without internet access- providing work booklets that are meaningful and can teach content independently has been difficult. I have never sent so many emails or documented so many adjustments. I think from a support teachers role it has forced all teachers to become more creative through online learning and has provided some fresh ideas on how to engage students in their learning.
- Will: Extremely busy and stressful. We worked extremely hard to change the way in which we develop content and teach, and we did it in an extremely short time frame. Teachers were still on class, developing content for learning at home and learning new skills all at the same time. We have been essentially doing two roles at the same time. Add to that the stress of family, friends or loved ones being sick or at risk, the guilt of our own children being out second, as we support the education of others children and managing the enormity of the change and it has all been very stress inducing. We have split teams working between home and school making communication and planing difficult. I am working 13-14 hours a day and still not completing all of the tasks i need to do in a day. All of my colleagues that I talk to tell me that they feel guilty that they are not able to provide the support that they normally do for kids. The mixed messages between the state and federal governments is appalling. We have one change made, then as we get ready and prepared and start that phase, then they make another announcement or change and we start all over again. We are the last to find out information as things are released ad hoc through a press conference and then we have to make a decision without all of the information. Parents in our community have been wonderful and appreciate everything we do, but I feel that our politicians, the media and much of the general public have denigrated teachers for not wanting to be "back at work".
Student Wellbeing Coordinators
- Jenny: I've worked full time from home while, alongside my partner who is also working full time managing remote learning for my own three kids. We are grateful we both are employed and for the extra time we can enjoy with our children. We also feel safer at home. I am dealing with very at risk students on the phone in my personal space which has been difficult and upsetting. I have had to return to my school workplace several times to make phone calls as it was easier to manage than be with my family at home. I am worried social distancing and hygiene will be an issues once schools return - 1200 people moving around a school building will be interesting. I established a great team of staff to ensure we were all supported while we worked remotely which has been great for morale - some of us have never met in person! I am an AEU member which has meant I also have an excellent sub-branch at school which means as staff we can work in solidarity on issues or problems when they arise. Being in the union has been very beneficial to my mental health and sense of wellbeing. I feel supported when I raise issues and know I have a large group of people who support me in my workplace. This will be very important once schools return in Victoria.
- Al: Admin staff sadly feel forgotten. We know teachers have an amazing & vital role to play in these strange times, but Admin are often on the “front line” in dealing with parents. We feel forgotten. :(