Be patient, pace yourself and pray

Be patient, pace yourself and pray

Shelly Ann HARRIS

Monday, October 19, 2020

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IN the wave of the frenzy that has seized students, teachers and parents with the start of the unusual new school year online, principal of St Andrew High School for Girls, Keeva Ingram, is a voice of calm bringing sound words of advice. A parent herself, Ingram shared seven tips for everyone as families navigate school and the current pandemic.

1. Be patient

This is new for everybody and parents will have to be patient with the children. It is new to learn how to use the platforms and the Internet will be inconsistent at times. Furthermore you may not have a device that you can allocate to each child so you are really going to have to exercise some patience.

2. Don't stress

This is not the worst thing that has ever happened to us – don't stress about it. We may not do the entire curriculum but the children won't be left behind.

3. Keep track of what your children are doing online

Don't just leave them to a device. Check the accounts that they are going on and check the social media pages if they are involved in any kind of social media. Also check to see who they are talking to and the history on the devices. Paedophiles are out there – there are persons out there with bad intentions. You have to check up on it.

4. Academic expectations

We won't be able to do as much work as if we were face to face. It may seem like the children are doing less work – yes they are going to be doing less work as it is not the same experience. This is new for teachers as well. Teachers are learning to teach online. For most of us who went to university and teachers' college, we didn't do a course in how to teach online. What we may have had is online classes but we were the students. But no one was teaching us how to execute lessons online as educators so you have to patient with the teachers – this is new for them as well.

5. Pace yourselves

Take things one day at a time. Try to not get overwhelmed with what is happening. I know it is hard because sometimes the work is coming in and the poor child hasn't got a chance to finish it – reach out to the teachers, let the teachers know. Say, “Miss, we are a little overwhelmed with all of what has been given today so please I won't be able to finish the assignment.” Keep the communication lines open.

6. Mental health matters

As we go through this time we need to be cognisant that the mental health of everybody is at risk. The children are stressed, the parents are stressed. Everyday my daughter says to me, “I don't like when you go out there because I am scared that you will catch corona”. The children understand that this virus kills people and they are fearful and very stressed about it. Don't just sweep their stress under the rug. Listen to them, talk with them. Spend time with them. Now is the time to do things together as a family so play board games, dominoes, snake and ladder, etc. Do stuff together. Take a walk in the neighbourhood. You can't go to the beach and river as much, but if you have a car, take a drive out.

7. Pray daily

I have to be telling my students and my children that the school that I am associated with started in 1925 and that was six years after the 1918-1919 pandemic that killed millions of people. And I have to be saying that everybody didn't die because we are here. So offer them hope. Pray with them, reassure them that God is here with us and He has gone before us and He will be with us.

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