Tips for Teachers Returning to School after Lockdown –
With Grade 12 and Grade 7 learners returning to school on 8 June 2020 and additional grades returning on a phased basis, educators have to adjust to a new reality in the workplace and in the classroom.
The following 6 tips aim to help teachers with this transition:
- Schools have not been ‘closed’…
Look at it this way – although you, and your learners, have been at home, learning and teaching continued. As a teacher you prepared lessons, albeit in a different way, you sent work home and/or you taught online. Learners worked ahead, became acquainted with independent learning and did homework.
Education was on-going, and it still is, though everyone has had to adapt as the reality in our country – and the rest of the world – changed.
- Tell them how you feel
Be honest – but factual – with your learners. Share with them how you feel. Don’t dwell on personal detail but let them understand that this is a time of uncertainty for all of us. This will lead to shared respect and an acknowledgement of how your and their wellbeing is of utmost importance.
- Let them talk
Set time aside for learners to share their feelings when school opens again.
Of course time is at a premium due to the teaching hours that have been lost whilst schools were closed but building a new relationship with the learners in your class will motivate them as well as get rid of the initial excitement of seeing friends and classmates again after so many weeks at home.
- A time of new beginnings
Going back to school means that everyone has to face ‘a new normal’. All around us things have changed.
Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ like social distancing, smaller classes and phased schooling will take time. Do not attempt to rush the process. Allow time for yourself and your learners to get used to new routines and a new way of doing things, whatever it may entail.
Don’t neglect to acknowledge, yet again to yourself and to your learners, that we have lived – and are living – through a historic time where everyone is learning, and adjusting, as we go along.
- Levels of learning during lockdown
Some learners would have tried their utmost to do as much school work as possible, others might have treated lockdown as an extended holiday. As a result there will be huge differences in knowledge attained by the individual learners in your class. Keep this in mind when planning lessons when it comes to revision and/or covering a new section of the curriculum.
- Keep an eye out for learners who are not coping
Some learners might struggle to cope academically or emotionally. These learners might need additional support. Keep an eye on learners who may be at-risk in your class and refer them to the school counsellor, contact their parents or arrange for extra support that would benefit them and help to remedy the situation.