During this Covid-19 pandemic, teachers and students are having to adapt to new ways of learning.
High school teachers already have many things to worry about every day when caring for and teaching their students. Imagine on top of all this you are not only adjusting to brand new teaching methods, such as online learning, but you are also teaching students who are experiencing homelessness, domestic and family violence, mental health issues and substance abuse.
Teachers and staff at our independent high schools are rising to the challenge and truly going that extra mile to ensure our students are not only looked after but are still getting their chance at an education even in isolation.
Barriers Our Students Face
On a daily basis our students have to overcome a number of barriers before they can sit down to do schoolwork. These barriers, such as limited access to IT devices and internet services, crowded housing, no space to set up for online learning, limited food availability, family conflict, learning difficulties and being overwhelmed by mental health concerns make getting a good education challenging even at the best of times. Not to mention the other the other personal hardships that can drastically affect their education such as substance abuse, homelessness and domestic and family violence.
Given all this, our teachers, youth workers and counsellors are ensuring they’re taking a holistic approach in supporting all students from a distance during this pandemic.
A message from our principal
Steve Armstrong, School Principal, said “our schools remain open and the level of care our students receive does not stop when teaching and supporting students from a distance.”
“On a daily basis our staff are not only delivering a curriculum, but are keeping our students safe and helping them navigate through various challenges. None of this stops because we are teaching remotely. Staff have delivered laptops, printed work booklets, and care packages to students in need and conducted Individual Learning Plan meetings to ensure adjustments are made to meet the individual needs of all students”
“We are used to dealing with variables when teaching students with such extreme circumstances. We have put these problem solving skills to use and adapted to still provide the same level of support from a distance, because we know our students need us now more than ever. “
Making the Most of Technology and Resources
Our teachers are using technology, such as Zoom and Google Classrooms, to stay in regular touch with students and their parents to provide the best support possible. Their classes are also being delivered remotely including their wellbeing classes such as yoga and art therapy which students can stream online. Students also continue to engage in accredited vocational training through Youth Off The Streets own RTO with Cert II Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways and Cert II Community Services continuing remotely.
Our Well Being team have identified students most at risk and of highest concern. Staff have been able to assist students who are experiencing anxiety through phone calls, Zoom/Facetime sessions and the provision of mental health resources.
Our teachers and school staff have truly turned the delivery of curriculum and care on its head and reinvented how we can teach and support students. Through this innovative thinking, our education team are continuing to deliver the same care and support to our students that they would receive otherwise in person.