A power shift to kids
As Term Two approaches, concerns abound about how remote learning could impact student’s academic achievement, particularly for those in their last year of school.
Parents are also concerned about their new role at home facilitating the learning process.
A lot of the discussion in the school staffroom and decisions are driven not just by students’ needs but the question “what about parents?”
Here are a few insights based on my own school experience and conversations with friends and family.
Education has changed
Your children will be so much more adept at using remote learning tools and learning programs than you, and that’s okay.
This paradigm shift in knowledge and understanding is something that good teachers accept and work with.
Be okay with your children knowing more than you and be willing to have them show you a thing or two.
It is extremely rewarding for children to demonstrate these things to adults.
There is a beauty in this power-shift that might shock parents, whose experiences as a student years ago could not have been further from this new reality.
Connect with friends and family
Your biggest lifeline may well be friends with their own kids at home.
Talk to them – share what’s worked well and what hasn’t.
Vent your frustrations with someone who can empathise.
Regular texts, photos and FaceTime conversations is a good way to stay sane.
Sharing your own failures and successes with those you trust leads to developing some truly creative ways to manage the new expectations.
Reach out and be gentle
Teachers and schools are ready to help parents.
Regardless of how learning schedules factor in teacher-student check-ins, video conferencing, etc, keep in mind that staff will be contactable.
Find out how and when your school can be contacted.
There will be a lot of troubleshooting and ‘working it out’ in early Term Two, so be patient when waiting for a reply.
Change is the name of the game
Regardless of the prescribed work, do not be afraid to mix things up and try different approaches to your child’s learning.
Some conventional wisdom deserves re-examination and to be turned on its head if it means creating a calmer environment that not only works for your child but your household.
Larger families need to juggle resources and space, so do whatever works for you in regards to routines and giving your children what they need.
Often in cases of crisis or disaster, young people are the most vulnerable and have the most trouble expressing their concerns and making sense of the situation.
The most important thing is to make sure your children are loved and not being hard on yourself.
You are doing an amazing job and are probably judging yourself too harshly. Keep things simple. Go easy on your children and especially yourselves.
• Garreth Wigg is Assistant Principal at Ss Peter and Paul’s Primary School, Goulburn