The national lockdown due to COVID-19 has not only seen many parents temporarily become teachers but it has also changed the way many teachers teach. While some struggled to make the transition to online teaching, others did not have quite such a hard time. A local teacher shares his experience.
Online teaching during the national lockdown
Relying on technology
Mr Johan Prinsloo, who has been working as a teacher for almost 30 years, says that he was not too stressed about the lockdown as he was already making use of technology in the classroom. “Our school makes use of an online platform where all the kids are registered on. Before, this was purely supplementary support, but now we use it all the time,” Mr Prinsloo explains.
Technology has helped Mr Prinsloo’s learners stay on top of their work. “I now still have contact with them, and we can continue our academic year. Without technology, this would have been impossible,” he adds.
Online teaching tips for parents
Mr Prinsloo shares some of his teaching tips below:
- Invest in technology. Technology will become even more important in the future. Set yourself and your kids up with the necessary technology to continue doing work at home.
- Keep an eye on your kids and motivate them to study and keep up to date.
Help your kids where necessary.
- Forget that teachers are still available. If your child usually attends a traditional school, most teachers are available and still teach online. Make sure your kids use this to their advantage. If you homeschool your kids, you can still find help by looking for online tutoring services.
- Take away all the responsibility. Learners, especially older learners, should take responsibility for their studies.
- Stress about using technology. You will be surprised by how well kids master new technology.
Teaching remotely requires learners to be actively involved in their studies. “It’s the same content, however, the kids now need to go through the work on their own,” Mr Prinsloo says. “Almost a kind of flipped classroom style of teaching,” he explains. And even though Mr Prinsloo is not in the classroom during the day, he is still available to answer learners’ questions and to mark their assessments online.
According to Mr Prinsloo, this is also the best thing about online teaching and he urges learners to take advantage of this. “I don’t think the penny has dropped yet with all the kids that they have a golden opportunity now to video call their teacher, to get answers directly,” he adds.
In big classrooms, there is not always time for one-on-one attention. Studying from home allows learners to connect with their teachers on a different level. Mr Prinsloo says that many learners also feel more comfortable asking their questions online rather than in person. “For some kids, this makes them more comfortable to ask me questions directly”. Mr Prinsloo says that the kids that are making use of this unique opportunity are reaping the benefits.
Back to the classroom
Mr Prinsloo says that the lockdown has made him aware that there are kids who are really struggling. “I’ve come to realise that some kids need extra attention and I need to spend extra time with them,” he explains. He plans on making use of online platforms even after the lockdown has ended. “I will invite kids to continue asking me questions online if they are not comfortable to do so in class.”
Not only is Mr Prinsloo excited about taking what he has learned back to the classroom, but he is also excited about seeing all his students again. “I miss the kids. Teachers who have chosen this as a profession do it for the love of kids and that daily interaction with their class. I truly miss having them around and interacting in person,” he concludes.