Connected Learning from a Teaching Mum
Teacher Suzanne Stacey, from St Patrick’s Parish School in Cooma, shares her recent experiences of balancing online learning for her 76 students with being Mum to three boys.
Teaching in this new world has brought many challenges and unexpected highs as both a fulltime teacher and a mum.
I have three busy, growing boys in Years Three, Five and Seven. So when connected learning from home came along, I transitioned to teaching 76 students learning at home alongside my own three boys.
This was uncharted territory for all.
As a family we are one of the lucky ones; we have great internet, each child has their own iPad and study space and a new laptop and desktop was bought hurriedly for me.
My virtual timetable gave me one dedicated face-to-face teaching slot per day and the boys quickly learned this meant mummy was offline to them at this time.
With this new arrangement came some interesting realisations.
As a forward thinking and innovative school, we were already ahead of the curve with online learning. My St Patrick’s colleagues and I were already using a myriad of digital learning platforms to adeptly support future focused learning, so the transition to our ‘connected learning’ was quite seamless.
It was reassuring seeing that what I thought was happening from my teacher perspective, was playing out in the learning of my own boys.
Classes were interesting, varied and engaging.
My three boys embraced the working day mentality by following my lead of logging on at 8.30 to start their school day. The two youngest learned quite quickly that if they got stuck in, they could be finished their core learning by mid-morning and the rest of the day was theirs for extension tasks or to pursue their passions.
And yes, I will admit that occasionally ran to whatever world they were building online.
There were days, too, when we just pushed the pause button and let their teachers know that today was not a learning day, that they just needed some ‘me’ time.
With a motto of ‘Strength in Gentleness’ this, too, was embraced by our school.
For me, being a teaching mum from home had its challenges. The most formidable of these was a healthy dose of ‘mum guilt’, when in the early days I caught myself feeling like I was caring more about the 76 students in my virtual classroom, than my own children’s learning.
I realised this is pretty much always the case.
As we neared the end of the first week, I was helped to look at it from a different perspective.
My kids had flourished in this brave new online world. They had completed their learning, received excellent feedback from dedicated teachers and had done all of this relatively independently.
While I have been busily nurturing, caring and teaching all of the children I have taught during the 13 years I have been a teaching mum, what I have inadvertently taught my kids is that education matters, that a love of learning will take you places and that they should find their own path, knowing that I am always there to catch them if they can’t fly on their own.