As Dominica’s education system navigates to online education, the new ‘hard’ learning format, teachers are urged to stay in touch with their students’ parents.
President of the Dominican Association of Teachers (DAT), Mervin Alexander recognizes that parents are currently under a lot of stress during this pandemic with job losses and financial hardship, among other factors.
“The ever-changing impact of COVID-19 can create feelings of insecurity and fear. Many of our families are still working, but many are not. They are concerned about the financial, emotional and certainly physical impact on their families, ”Alexander said in a press release.
“In addition, they now assume the role of teacher for their children. For some, this is a wonderful way to support teachers and give them structure for their days at home with their children. For others, it can be very overwhelming, ”he added.
He encouraged teachers to listen to parents regarding any questions these parents may have, but also to be proactive in contacting them.
Alexander noted that most parents don’t have any training in teaching and want to do what’s best for their children, but many don’t feel equipped to do it.
“Think of ways to support and reassure them,” he said. “At the same time, I appeal to parents, thank you for respecting the teachers’ space, do not call them at all at odd hours with your questions. Remember that online education comes with added stress and teachers also have families.
Alexander also urged teachers to have realistic expectations and to recognize that students may not be at the same level at the end of the term or school year as if teaching was face to face. He advised them to structure each day and avoid setting goals that put undue stress on themselves, students and their families.
“Great teachers meet students where they are. At the start of this school year, do what you do at the start of each school year – get to know your students and find ways to meet them where they are, ”advised the DAT president.
Alexander identified some of the challenges teachers face, such as not having their own devices, having to travel by public transport to get to school, and having to share limited space with others. colleagues and expressed the hope that education officials realize that teachers, who are expected to teach students, themselves need devices just as students do.
He further urged parents to take this opportunity to do things with their children like cooking, board games, reading because, he stressed, “there is a great learning in all these activities” .
“For many, daily devotions can be something new, but having this time each day to be reassured of God’s faithful promises can be a great stress relief,” said the DAT president. “Give your families very easy ways to do it. Maybe share some daily class prayers that the kids are already familiar with. Share a devotion or two online for the kids you see and know are healthy.
Alexander urged all teachers to be responsible and get vaccinated, reminding them that one of their colleagues had died from COVID-19.
“Don’t become a spreader but the one who tries to stop the spread. We lost one of our teachers due to illness, let’s try not to lose any more. My condolences to the family on behalf of the Dominica Teachers Association, ”he said.