On Monday 4 October, more kids in Malaysia will be returning back to school, after spending such a long time in online classrooms. As a teacher who has two children myself, I find myself caught between missing the buzz of the classroom, and feeling slightly anxious about face-to-face learning after so long online.
It’s understandable that some parents will worry about safety of their children as they head back to the classroom. Be reassured that schools have strict SOPs that must be followed. All members of the school community take these seriously in my experience and do their best to make sure everyone is safe.
If you do choose to keep your child at home instead, take comfort in the fact that teachers will be prepared for this. Pretty much every teacher I know is preparing for what we now call ‘hybrid learning’ (lessons where some pupils are in the classroom while others are online), so nobody will miss out.
So what can you do to make sure that your child is ready for going back to school, whether face-to-face or online? Here’s a couple of things that I’ve seen really make a difference in my own classroom over the years.
1. Make sure your child is fully equipped
Back in the pre-Covid days I had no problem stocking my classroom with extra pens, pencils and all sorts of other things, but it’s likely that SOPs will mean that students will not be able to share equipment. Things like glue sticks, whiteboards, scissors (all of which used to be provided) will have to be brought in from home. And if kids are continuing with online learning, being fully equipped is even more important. If pupils are missing equipment, it can mean that they are unable to complete classwork properly or it can make things more difficult for them.
I know that it can be daunting when you receive a very long equipment list before the start of school, but they are often essential items that your child needs to take part in the learning.
2. Get a good night’s sleep
As a teacher, I can’t tell you what a difference a good night’s sleep makes to the learning I see happening every day in my classroom. I can often tell who has had a late night and who has been to bed early, just by the way pupils behave. Those who are enthusiastic and full of energy, ready to take on the challenges I set them are often the ones who have a good routine in place.
In fact, some of my colleagues who teach younger children have had pupils fall asleep in class during the afternoon, which obviously means they miss out on quite a bit! I know that getting your kids to bed on time is easier said than done, but this simple change could make all the difference to how much your child enjoys their learning.
The same goes for kids who skip breakfast — we all know it is difficult to learn something new when you are hungry and tired.
3. Try not to worry about lack of progress
This year has been hard on everyone and your child’s teacher will be expecting some gaps in terms of the learning covered last year. I know it can be worrying for parents when pupils have missed lessons or topics, but this is to be expected to some extent. Teachers will be using the holidays (yes – we still work during our time off) to plan and review what needs to be taught over the next term to make sure that any gaps are filled, so expect some revision and recapping of certain subjects. Most pupils will have some areas they need to work on, so there is no need to worry that your child will be left behind.
4. Stay positive
Understandably, there may be some anxiety about going back to school, or about remaining online when others are back in the classroom. After all, these are perfectly reasonable worries to have! Your child’s teacher will understand this and may even be feeling a little anxious themselves.
I’ve found that having a positive attitude can make a huge difference. It is great to see students ‘having a go’ at something new and being enthusiastic about the tasks they are set – it makes it enjoyable for everyone involved. Encourage your child to speak to their teacher about any issues they may be having, or you can contact the school yourself, so that any problems can be resolved quickly.
We’ve all faced a tough time recently, but if we continue to work together, we can have a successful school year.
Are your kids starting at a new school next month? Have a look at our article here with tips for the best possible start.