Teachers, parents more comfortable with online toolsFriday, September 24, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica- With the new school year in full swing, some teachers and parents say they are now more comfortable with manoeuvring the virtual space for online classes.
According to the teachers and parents, they are better able to use the systems and students are learning.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic people around the world have been forced inside as part of efforts to slow the spread of the virus, and students were no exception.
One mother of two, Marsha Page, said her seven-year-old son, Kaiden, is learning and he is very comfortable in his online classes.
“The children being online is not my ideal situation, however, my child has to learn and if this is the way for now I am okay with it. It is easier now to manoeuvre the system [and] my son is used to all the platforms they use for classes since he completed one year and a term already,” Page told OBSERVER ONLINE.
Adding that there are still difficulties with online school, Page stated that internet connectivity is one of the main issues, “…and the kids will come out of class and play games and use the zoom chat and get distracted so you as a parent have this added burden of ensuring that whether you are working from home or not, someone has to monitor your child.”
Makadia Russell, another mother of two, said both her 14-year-old son and six-year-old daughter are coping much better with online school this year, as opposed to last year.
“We are getting used to online classes but I can see where my daughter gets a little restless because she's sitting in front of her device for so long, but she's learning and she has to learn. She knows how to handle the system and she understands the routine now to get ready for online class,” she said, as she too concluded that internet connectivity and technical issues are her main concerns with online classes.
However, Russell said, “The teachers really tried their best with both of my children and they did really well.”
Meanwhile, Sherika Edwards, a mathematics teacher at Kingston College, agreed that it is much easier for her and her students to use the systems for online classes this time around.
“This year because we have learnt the system for a year and know what works and what does not work, I am better organised than last year. So, I am learning and the students are learning. They are much better at handling the system as well as me in terms of putting things together and being well prepared,” Edwards said.
She continued: “However, there are some students who seem to have issues with connectivity and devices just the same as before and as a result of that, that still is a sore point. Because some of them are getting left behind because they cannot join the class. In the time that we are living now, with regards to COVID, it's best that they stay home where they are safer and I am safer from getting the virus from anyone.”
On the other hand, Edwards said it is sometimes difficult for her to fully assist students due to the physical space between them, but despite this, she said she tries to make the best of a bad situation.
“Certain work I don't want to give in Google Classroom, where it is being marked. I want them to actually write so that I can see how they write and how they work out the questions, their thought process. The thought process is not being shown in mathematics because when they're working out the questions in the physical space you are better able to see what they don't understand,” Edwards explained.
Additionally, a grade two teacher at Hope Kindergarten and Preparatory in Old Harbour, St Catherine, Miriam Campbell, agreed with Edwards.
She said, “With everything, the more you do it the easier it becomes, and teaching online is no different. I do miss the face-to-face classes and I know the children are tired of this online school too, but they are learning and I am so proud of them and I am grateful for all the parents who helped with this process. It's not an easy time living in and we just have to make it work.”