PA Learning and Growing Together Online and Offline: The First Week of eLearning at PA
Children and parents eagerly look forward to spring break each year as it’s usually an opportunity to travel, spend time outside and play. However, the current pandemic has brought the world to a halt. Teachers and parents alike are concerned about how children will cope with staying at home and how best to continue learning. eLearning (also known as “online learning” or “remote learning” or “distance learning”) has become a national topic of conversation overnight.
While parents and children were on spring break, Pythagoras Academy administration and team leads held several urgent meetings to discuss different ideas, to develop an eLearning plan, and to prepare for its implementation.
A consensus was reached that our eLearning program should not just be the transmission of links and resources, but that there should still be an opportunity for teacher-student interaction and authentic teaching and learning. It is also important that students still feel connected to the school, their teachers and their classmates during this time. Parents, teachers and administration all know that we are facing unprecedented challenges due to this crisis, but we are all working together to try to protect students and continue to offer them opportunities for joyful learning and social connection.
Teachers are working hard to develop an eLearning program that is concise and clear for students and parents to follow. They are also considering ways to make the learning fun, engaging and meaningful for students.
The PA eLearning landing page. Families can go here to access lessons for each day. Also, this is where students can sign up for one-on-one conferences with their homeroom teacher or any other specialist teachers.
PA administration and teachers are aware that many parents are working from home and that many families have multiple children at home as well. Many parents are also trying to balance school and family time while self-isolating. It’s important for parents to support and guide their children with their online learning, but PA staff understand that the lessons and assignments need to be clear and straightforward. The daily learning slides provided by homeroom teachers provide information about the day’s schedules, lessons, zoom meetings, assignments etc. all in one place for easy access. We understand that younger students in particular rely more on parental support than older students, and PA administration and teachers are listening to parental feedback. We are making continuous improvements and adjustments to meet the common needs of both parents and children.
A grade two parent wrote the office a note of appreciation over the weekend. A teacher had recommended a sports app by email this past Sunday. The parent had been feeling concerned about how isolation would affect their active child and the teacher suggested that the parents try a specific app and that they would continue to share resources with parents in the future. The mother said she was “very touched to receive such an email.” PA teachers treat their students as if they were their own children, which is a common trait among teachers both in the East and West.
While the teachers are working hard to teach students, the PA administrative team is also actively supporting teachers and parents, from IT support and maintenance to answering online questions and answers, to coordinating whole school online learning seminars to contacting families. The administrative team’s goal is to ensure the smooth implementation of eLearning. Every message received from parents and every email sent by the school is taken seriously and carefully considered.
While the pandemic continues and restrictions have not yet been lifted, PA eLearning will continue. eLearning bridges the gap between home and school in an unprecedented way. In the future, when PA students grow up and reflect on the past, hopefully they will not have scary memories of the pandemic, but positive memories of their parents and teachers who took care of them, showed kindness and warmth, and worked alongside them. In this war between man and virus, we will win!
The PA staff are so thankful that we are able to continue to teach and learn together online and offline. Thank you for your support!