I hope this email finds you and your family well.
I want to update you on our plan for remote learning which begins tomorrow.
Most of you have already experienced remote learning over last term when bubbles have had to close. In fact, only Year 3 managed the full term with no closure. We intend to provide remote learning in the same way that we have done since September. That is different depending on the age of your child, and you will receive more detailed information about what to expect for your child from Mrs Kirby, Ms Lyne and Mrs Harborne. This email is just to let you know about our remote learning more generally.
Firstly, education doesn't stop when the children can't come into school: it moves online. Teachers are not having a break- they are working differently. This is difficult for some children (and adults) to get their heads around! Years 2-6 will have Teams meetings in which teachers will register the class. Any child not making it to this meeting will be called to find out why they couldn't attend. This is because some children think that if they're at home, work is optional until they realise it's not!! It's also because we know that some children will have technical problems, and the phone call is to see if we can help.
Teachers are going to stagger these registration meetings through the day to try and help families that are sharing a device. If you have two children, they can't both register at once. Teachers will invite your child to other meetings in the day, some of which will be small group tuition or individual. When the teacher is not on a call with your child, the expectation is that your child would then be completing their work.
Children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 will find their learning on the website, and teachers will be phoning to check in with you to see how they are getting on.
Teachers will provide feedback in several ways. The best feedback is verbal- that's when a teacher can talk to your child about their work or ask them to explain their thinking. This is the most difficult thing to do online, but teachers will do it through questioning in meetings, and sharing the screen to look at work.
Please appreciate that our teachers know what they're doing. I understand that everybody has an opinion on education and how it should be done. I can't pick up a newspaper without reading somebody's view on teaching- usually people who haven't set foot in a school since they were a child themselves! Teaching is very skilful: you have to engage 30 small people simultaneously, some of whom do not want to be there! You have to ensure that all 30 of them understand what you're explaining, and work out each individual's misconceptions whilst maintaining the attention of everybody else and the pace of learning. You need to have an excellent understanding of what motivates each child, and deal with their mood swings: both good and bad. You need to be able to spot a child who is stressed or anxious and coach them through difficult periods of life, whilst all the time remembering the other 29 children, of widely different abilities, that are in the same lesson.
Bearing this in mind, please let the teachers do their job during the Teams meetings. This time is for the children. It's very important that parents don't start talking through the session, or asking the teacher lots of questions, or generally interrupting the flow of the session. It is hard enough for teachers to deal with unreliable technology, without feeling as if they are performing on stage, or holding a question and answer session for parents. It would be really helpful if you are able to be there to support your child, but the best thing you can do to help them is to make sure they can log into the meeting and behave themselves whilst they are on it- not let them watch TV at the same time, or do headstands on the sofa.
Mrs Hedges and I are going to arrange some Teams Live events for children to join- for collective worship, stories and possibly a Mr HE Workout. I will let you know the details of this as soon as we have set them up.
I know the next few weeks are going to be a challenge for all of us but I honestly believe that I have the best team working at St John's. The teachers and teaching assistants will be in touch with the children regularly and as long as you encourage your child to complete the work that is set, they shouldn't fall behind.
If you are experiencing difficulties, please ring the school office and we will do our best to help you. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org