“Teaching is a vocation, not a job…”

contributed by Ms Krista Mizzi, Year 5.2 Class Teacher

They say, “teaching is a vocation, not a job”, and I tend to agree! I love my work. It gives me great satisfaction. Watching the children grow and learn, to me, is really fascinating. Children, like flowering plants, if given the right amount of love and care, will blossom right before your eyes.

With the pandemic, a lot of things had to change in our ways of teaching, one of which was the fact that I had to teach remotely. For this reason, I have a number of students who follow school online. Teaching from a distance has its own challenges, but I believe that where there is a will there is a way! So, how do we make online teaching work, during a pandemic?

First and foremost, through teamwork. I work very closely to the two, super dedicated LSEs assigned in class, as well as the replacement teachers in the classroom. We speak every day and they give me detailed feedback about what happened on the day and about the students themselves; their behaviour, their needs, who excelled and who needed more help. They also send me plenty of photos with the children’s work and I frequently prompt the students where needed.

During lessons, I use visual aids as much as possible like presentations and videos, and I write on a graphics tablet which helps a lot in explanations and presenting information, so that the children are engaged. I also use different voices sometimes, especially while reading, to get their attention and make them giggle too! We have a lot of movement breaks too, where they can move to their favourite songs, regaining motivation. I make sure to ask a lot of questions and hold discussions with the students, involving both those online, and also those in the classroom, so no one is left out.

The students in class have learnt how to respect each other more, especially because they are aware that if they talk too much, I would not be able to hear them clearly when they speak. They help each other when needed, even though they are limited in doing so.

The students following online try to retain the school environment  by being in a room with the least distractions possible, wearing their uniform just like their peers, keeping their microphones off and raising their hand to ask a question and even ask permission to be excused! Each child has an individual reward chart, which is filled in daily, and once completed, they would get a positive report. Students work really hard for this! Work is assigned on Google classroom which makes it possible to correct and give feedback online.. I try to be as disciplined as possible with the children in order to maintain harmony and a stable learning pace.

Online teaching and learning has its own challenges. I miss the classroom environment very much and I can’t wait to be back in class! However, we have found ways to make the situation work. It is great to have support from parents and colleagues, who help in various ways for everything to run smoothly. Most definitely, the greatest credit goes to the wonderful group of students which was entrusted to me this year. Way to go boys! ????

Some thoughts from the homeschoolers…

At first, I must admit it was very hard and sometimes I cried seeing all my friends there, but now I feel very safe and very comfortable. I am included in all lessons and I can understand the teacher pretty well. I do keep up with the class. The teacher has a very good structure as to how to cope with us online and the classroom. I do miss my friends a lot, but I do not feel sad at all. Hope that I will be able to get back to school to meet my friends. – Neil, 5.2

Bħala lezzjonijiet inħosshom tajjeb ħafna u xorta qiegħed nitgħallem daqs li kieku qiegħed l-iskola. Bħala għalliema vera tgħinna u tispjega tajjeb ħafna. – Allende, 5.2

I really like the way that online schooling is going and all the effort that the teachers make to make me feel like I am actually in class. Sometimes I feel that some of the movement breaks are a bit impossible though! Thank you for all the effort and help when needed. – Christopher, 5.2

I think the experience is odd but I liked it. I think you are the best teacher because you are not super strict! –Dave, 5.2