Reflections from Ada at home.
This week at Ada, as we come up to the end of term, we’re reflecting 🤔 on our first two weeks of remote teaching 🧑🏫 and learning 💡and planning for a longer spell of staying at home 🏠 as this new normal looks likely to be our normal for a while. We’re still building the plane as it's taking off ✈️- there is no “best practice” as no one has ever been in this situation before. We’ve been remote teaching to keep the ship 🚢 sailing and we’re proud of what we’ve managed to keep afloat through the impressive resilience shown by staff and students.
We’ve been lucky in that we’ve already got a staff and student body who are trained to use online platforms and are up-and-running with email 📧, calendars 📅, and Google classroom. We took to Google Meets and shared documents for FAQs 📗like ducks 🦆to water 🌊... and I’ve discovered the power of emojis to spruce 🌲 up my communications.
Our students 🎓, on the whole, like this new style of college. Our survey that asked them to reflect on the first week came back overwhelmingly positive. Students enjoy working at their own pace, they like watching the videos teachers have created, they appreciate teachers being available via email, they’d like more opportunities for group chats as they miss the social aspects of college life but they don’t miss the 🚌 commute! They are baking 🍪, gaming 🎮, walking dogs 🐕, writing poetry 🗒️, reading books 📚 and sleeping 😴.
But we also know that many of our students don’t have a home life or headspace conducive to study right now. They are in homes with many people, young children, noise, lack of space, and worry. Some are alone, as parents or carers are key workers and are still going out to work every day. And this is while we are all living through a global pandemic which has led to heightened anxiety in us all. So we all feel we need to focus first on the mental health of our students and staff. Our amazing pastoral and support team are doing everything they can to ensure that we’re in contact with students and supporting them however and wherever we can and we’re continuing this support and contact over the Easter break.
We’ve planned for the fours weeks after Easter being remote, and will have more collaborative planning time for teachers (we’re also getting lonely!) We’ll ensure that less-is-more and that we prioritise interactions with students through emails, group meets, and online chats. We’ll be reflective, checking each day what’s working and what’s not, ready to change plans to adapt for changing needs. We’ll be patient and kind and get time away from screens, looking forward to the day that we’re all back in college; what a 🎉 celebration 🎉 that will be!
If you're struggling with your mental health, all students at Ada have access to Kooth: a free, anonymous, online support system. Use your Ada email to register here.