DAY 66 - PREP 2 PSLE ONLINE CLASSES! #CircuitBreaker #EmbraceDyslexia

MY EXPERIENCE TEACHING PREP 2 PSLE ONLINE

Covid-19, a pandemic that has taken the whole world by storm; a virus that has put a stop to the normal routines of everyone. Singapore is no exception to the effects of the virus, creeping up on us and then in April it drastically affected our lives! Everything came to a standstill and “normal” was no longer the same.

At DAS, I would love to say that we were given the immunity and could proceed with the daily teaching in the comforts of our classrooms but unfortunately, no, we could not escape from the measures set by the government. Now, the new normal includes teaching to a screen while praying fervently that technology does not fail you. And if that were really to happen, all you could do is to hear your heart sinking after having to cancel and reschedule the class.

For me personally, it was a whirlwind of emotions trying to cope with the changes. Thankfully though, the foresight that DAS had anticipating we would go online helped us to accept the inevitable. The endless support and resources given by the EdTech, IT, English Language Literacy, and my dual specialisation, PREP 2 PSLE, teams have helped to ease the transition immensely. Or so I thought… All the resources given could not prepare me for what that was about to come.

Week 1: Okay, everything is in place. Charged devices, check. Working microphone, check. Invitations sent out, check. And now we wait...

The first hurdle: my first PREP 2 PSLE (P2P) online lesson.

I was confident that the transition to online learning for my P2P students would be as seamless as it was for my other students. However, my expectation went south. That first lesson was chaotic.  My students were all excited to see each other online. I was too. But when you are trying to regulate the behaviours of four very different personalities, that excitement would quickly dissipate, and a splitting headache would emerge instead. It did take a substantial amount of time to settle them down and get the lesson moving. Furthermore, with the lesson being conducted online, it was a lot more challenging to check on their progress. I had to then rethink my approach and how I could gauge their understanding of the lesson.

In addition, the transition online was not just taking a toll on the teachers but the students as well. One of my P2P students was slowly showing signs of overwhelming stress over the weeks and was constantly acting out in class. It was a side that was not previously observed in our learning centre classroom. I then found out it was due to the immense amount of homework that he had to complete before the new MOE school term started. On top of that, two of my other students required more scaffolding to help them understand the concepts better. That, aside from their constant chatter. “Ms Farah, which worksheet is it?”, “Ms Farah, which question are you at?”, “Ms Farah, do you know that…”. “Ms Farah, I am not done yet!”

Fortunately, the P2P core team members have been very helpful during this trying period.  The insets organised and the weekly emails sent out with the tools we could use in our lessons were a godsend. I could gather insightful recommendations from my colleagues through the exchanges we had, and I had materials such as the online videos created by the team to supplement my teaching.  My students loved the animated videos as it helped them to understand the concepts more clearly. The videos made the explanation process on my side easier. In addition, the expectations that I initially set were adjusted and I gave them the freedom to learn at their pace for the more independent students. The sessions then progressively became manageable and the students, happier.

At the end of it all, I am glad all of us took on the challenge head-on and came out of it still in one piece. I was worried of how the lessons would be like at the start of term but at the end of week 10, I believed I had made the best out of the situation just like all my other colleagues did. I guess all of us, including the students and parents, deserve a pat on our backs for embracing the change and it is now time for us to enjoy our well-deserved break. Sayonara for now, Google Meets! 

Till we see you again (hopefully, never). 

By Nur Farahin Binte Ahmad Shariff
Senior Educational Therapist
Specialised Educational Services

Read the article here

 

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