As we change gears to a longer break from in-person learning this winter, parents everywhere are in the same boat. You are being inundated with the presence of your child’s teachers at your kitchen tables and in dens and living rooms across the city, as emails, links to resources, and social media sharing shifts our educational program to home learning. We know that you are also juggling the impacts and restrictions at work, not to mention the increased demands on home-based internet services and device sharing! If it’s any comfort, Mr. A has suffered all of these things in the past seven days, including a laptop meltdown, repair, and replacement, along with a fried modem at home with four university kids all depending on it! (…fingers crossed, the new modem is supposed to arrive today).
That little phrase about “misery loving company” is not quite accurate or especially comforting in these circumstances, but you get the gist. We are all coping with varying challenges and complications at home and at work. Nevertheless, even with the impediments and obstacles, we are going to “kick” this unwelcome interruption to the curb eventually. For now, we are focusing — as a large professional learning community that includes you! — on the goal of providing our students with continuity and coaching, so they can continue to learn and not lose that spark we’ve worked so hard to nurture during the first half of the school year.
I hope the experience of daily synchronous remote learning is working in your homes. I have received many encouraging comments about how students are adapting and the credit goes to the teachers, parents, and children themselves. While a perfect model that suits everyone’s needs is not achievable, please know that we continue to reflect and adjust our approach according to the participation, stamina, and feedback from kids and parents. Like you, we hope (hope!) that the experience will be relatively short-lived and that our students will be “masked and motivated” and back on-site in the not-too-distant future. Patient endurance attains to all things!
As we move forward next week, we will see activities and co-curricular engagement increase as teachers and students continue to fine-tune ways to participate and adapt. The reality of screen-based interaction (e.g., instruction, meetings, social time, clubs, etc.,) is that people experience increased fatigue and simply need to take a break. Technology has been so vital in responding to this societal crisis, but it also comes with a consequence of its own – that reality of feeling drained through on-line burnout. And now we are holed up. We understand the stresses as teachers, learners, and parents ourselves.
Parents, thank you for all you are doing in your various fields of endeavour from healthcare and your own businesses to education, charitable work, and entrepreneurship! You are doing a great job and we really appreciate your determination, engagement, and support.
And teachers – thank you for your efforts and insights as we steer through this period of unpredictability with patience, care, and commitment.
Another week down. We will get there!
Ric Anderson, Head of School