This week’s blog was written by Philippa Stumbles (teacher in Dubai)

Phillipa has spent the last 4 weeks teaching online. 

First and foremost, keep your child feeling happy and positive during this time of learning. Both their physical and mental well-being is essential. So ensure you encourage your children to do physical exercises (most of the PE lessons will do this), but they need more. My school reduced our lesson time and added a 20 minute break between lessons to give children time to upload work or time just to get away from their screens. This is essential. If your school is not doing this, then I would suggest you recommend they do this. No child, regardless of their age should be sitting for hours on end in front of a screen.

Even question whether homework is essential (my school made it optional).

After school time should be family time or certainly time spent doing other things. Encourage your children to keep co-curricular activities going as best as possible, there are so many possibilities. This is a time to encourage not chastise your children. The school will have a safeguarding policy in place but you will also have to be watching and keeping an eye out for this. Keep an open dialogue with your child’s school but do not overwhelm them with endless emails and calls. Remember the schools themselves are not centralized, everyone is working remotely.

Prepare for online learning with your child. If you have more than one child, they will probably need a device each. Also, check that your internet capability and bandwidth will support all your children and the adults in the house accessing it at the same time before term starts. Help them to structure their routine before the term starts too. Get them to organize their desk into an appropriate work station. Take down distracting or inappropriate posters/photographs (especially if they are going to be using their online cameras, think about safeguarding here). Check that they know how to upload work onto the platform their school is using (Google or Microsoft). Make sure you have all the resources your child might need in the house like art supplies, ink for the printer, paper etc.

Finally,  There will be glitches along the way but everyone becomes a better practitioner with time– the school will keep adapting and refining its programme, your child will become a better learner, asking less questions, becoming more independent, learning to pace themselves with time and so too will the staff. Please do not put too much pressure on your child, your child’s school or yourself.

This is a massive journey for us all. Something we will all grow from, and something in time we will reflect back on and say, “remember the summer term of Covid-19 when all learnt to slow down and we learnt life’s lessons.”