Face to face teaching is about to recommence in most schools across Australia, and while some teachers are applauding the return to the classroom for their students, others are more apprehensive.
For the past 6 or 7 weeks of teaching, many teachers have taught remotely. How this looks is different for every school, with some schools able to deliver lessons in real time through video conferencing and online classes, while for others their lessons are delivered through carefully planned and created printed workbooks, often hand delivered by teachers to their students homes.
Needless to say, this new way of teaching both primary and high school students has been a steep learning curve for many (to say the least) and our teachers have risen above any expectations and worked their hardest to ensure the students in their care have a sense of normalcy, of inclusion, of importance and of belonging.
When asked how teachers felt about the return to face to face teaching and the beginning of returning to the ‘old’ normal, there were mixed responses. Nearly all of the teachers we spoke to were excited and looking forward to being with their students again and being able to teach and respond to their learning and their questions in real time. PE teachers in particular were looking forward to the return of carnivals and physical PE lessons, while others were concerned that COVID-19 restrictions may mean that play equipment such as balls and ropes may be off limits.
Conversely, many teachers – including many of those excited to be back in the classroom – are concerned about the risk this return may pose to their health and the health of their students and co-workers. The pandemic is far from over, and with news about mutations in the virus making it more lethal than before, the threat of a new spike in the amount of people infected by the virus is of major concern.
We know teachers are essential workers. We know education is an essential part of our society. We also know that the health of our children and our school team is essential. So what is the answer? Is this stagnated approach to recommencing face to face teaching the best answer, or do you have a different opinion?
We’d love to hear it.