This blog is written by Philippa Stumbles, Teacher in Dubai.
As I start my fourth week of online teaching the reality and the novelty of this new realism has well and truly taken root. I am a senior school teacher from Dubai, who has found myself ‘locked’ out of both my home and my school due to Covid-19 and stranded in beautiful remote Yorkshire; and yet ironically none of this matters, as long as my internet connection is strong along with my coffee, as I start work at 4:45am to co-inside with the start of the UAE school day! So what thoughts and experiences can I share for other teachers and parents about the online school experience as we have been at this for almost a month now?
Well, the over-riding feeling amongst my colleagues has been the amount of hard work this has been for us as teachers and the massive learning curve this has been for us all. We had very little time to prepare before our schools were closed and we moved to online learning.
From a survey taken at school it was found that 54.13% of the staff found that they were working harder than normal and that over 60% felt more stressed, although 69.23% said that they felt OK or happy about their own personal well-being. Interestingly 60.51% felt that they were having no issues with the IT side of things (but we do have an incredibly young staff body) and we are fortunate that the school is well integrated on the google platform. But when it comes to WWW it is clear that pupils benefit the most from lessons that are interactive, where teachers and pupils see each other ‘face-to-face’ such as on Microsoft teams or google meet; where the pupils do activities away from their screens and where staff think ‘outside of the box’ and come up with novel and unusual activities. And for staff, as far as EBI’s, the extra stress and workload of adapting lessons to an online format came up as the number one concern together with connecting with some pupils (cohesion) as well as the constant marking of uploaded work and responding to messages and queries from both students and parents. However, as a real plus from the survey a resounding 80.51% of staff felt that they were happy with the learning that was taking place online.