This year has been a challenging one. We’ve had terrible bushfires, followed by storm damage and now a pandemic – and we’re still in term 1! Times like these can be stressful for both students and teachers. I am hopeful though, that this slow-down of our lives will help us experience a moment of kensho. Kensho is defined by Vishen Lakhiani as “Growth from temporary pain”. It can shock us into hansei, (reflection), with regards to how lucky we have been to have had so much choice in the past; but also a mental edit that perhaps some of the things we were cramming into our lives in the past are not missed now that they are gone.
This week I was saddened when our conferences and workshops had to be cancelled or postponed until next year. I was due to run a primary network meeting tomorrow but due to the enthusiasm of the group we have decided to run it virtually. This event is forcing me to upskill my knowledge of videoconferencing – a task that had been on my to-do list for months. I need to be an expert by tomorrow – and will subsequently need to adopt a growth mindset when I realize I am not.
Many of us are preparing to live and teach with less face to face contact. Teaching, as we know, is heavily influenced by the relationship that exists between the teacher and the students, and between the students themselves. As we prepare to run courses on-line, we need to ensure that we strive to maintain that connection. Here are some tips to do so.
- Use a narrative or the first person when creating resources. The students need you now more than ever so where possible share voiceovers or videos of yourself welcoming the students to the work each week and verbally talking them through the tasks you lined up for them.
- Consider including a task like The Platform. This formative task encourages students from year 9 to 12, to share their interests and use language to comment on each other’s findings. Working in smaller pods of students enable them to feel less social anxiety about sharing and can develop a sense of connection with the teacher in a virtual space.
- Manage your own mental health by using resources and websites that are ready made for some tasks. Your energy is better spent on providing feedback to the student on their efforts than in spending hours creating the perfect on-line task.
We know that some of us who use class sets of textbooks may be worried about what to do when the teaching goes on-line. To help with this, we have made flipbooks of Jblog 1 and Jblog 2 textbooks that are available to teachers for a one-off fee of $100 during this COVID-19 period. This cost allows use to load the text to your school’s preferred online platform to enable access for your students. This offer is only available to school’s who have purchased a class set in the past. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Good luck everyone during this time of change and challenge. Keep looking for those moments of kensho!