As much as we all debated the pros and the cons of online learning throughout the pandemic, the majority agreed it was the best and most feasible option at the time, although teachers and students alike were chomping at the bit to regain a sense of normalcy and return to the classroom.
When the long anticipated return happened, the Ontario province was winded by the seemingly bizarre choice to have students take on a ‘quadmester’, with two subjects taken in congruence for multiple hours a day. This caused students to lose focus and teachers to feel the scorch of burnout. In short, it didn’t work for anyone.
Thankfully, the school board has taken note of the complaints and the issues being faced, and made the decision to return to a normal school week- on the condition that COVID cases don’t rise at a higher rate than currently.
So, what can teachers do to help students in the transition back to regular school?
- One of the best ways for young people to feel supported is for them to feel as though they are being heard. Take a little time out of each class to discuss the world that they are perceiving and their concerns. If appropriate, address their beliefs and ensure that what they understand is accurate.
- You can also delve into the media, and hold a class that teaches students to view the media with a more discerning eye. This will help with the spread of misinformation, and it will be a life-long skill for most students. These classes can include, analysing for bias, fact checking, date checking, and looking past sensationalist headlines.
- Be honest and calm with your students. The pandemic has been a difficult time for many people, and being both honest and calm with your students will help to model behaviours for them to emulate. The honesty will be refreshing for many, and by not sugar coating your words, students will respect you (within reason- they are still kids after all).
- Be clear with families and students alike. There are many confusing and new changes happening, and students and their families are confused. While you may not have much more information, creating an honest rapport with your students will be beneficial for your relationship with the student, and the students relationship with their schoolwork.
Moving back into normal education is guaranteed to be a huge adjustment for many students and it will take a little navigating to do well. It is certainly worth working with your students in order to help make their transition as smooth as possible.