The upside of remote learning

We’ve all just about had it with the trials and tribulations of remote learning.

We’ve whined about lockdowns, examinations, difficult parents, poor internet, and pedagogical frustration.

Yes, we have had Trial HSC examinations to stress over, and we have worried about the poor class of 2021 who must drag themselves through seven weeks of student vacation, remain motivated, revise content and prepare for a HSC which, for them, seems a world away.

However, we know that young Australian men and women are a resilient bunch, and, in a couple years, they will hardly remember what all the fuss was about.

I have dug a little deeper to see what remote learning has really been about for teachers and support staff. It seems that many, even most of us, have found our own way not only to cope, but to make the whole experience a rewarding one.

Contacting a dozen schools has revealed that many teachers caught in the remote learning net have found ways to improve their personal and professional engagement and to seriously consider ‘self-care’.

Being forced to learn about the ‘ins and outs’ of Microsoft Teams (to deliver content) became a valuable tool for professional engagement (and to add to our NESA hours).

Many found solace in music and art while others found the extra time at home, away from morning tea, as an opportunity to lose a few kilos.

Those of us who have gym equipment at home or like to walk found time to exercise and to ‘build a better body’ away from the screen.

Reading for pleasure was possible without the ‘hum-drum’ of commuting or driving to work and, would you believe, some of us found time to watch Sunrise each morning and have a go at Cashcow.

However, one reccurring theme was the notion that we had some control of our own lives. Yes, we were busy, but we did have more time for ourselves, even if it was just to escape the perils of ‘screen trauma’. We were, in essence, performing for ourselves and no one else.

Lockdown and remote learning gave me the opportunity to get more exercise, to fine tune a garden which this time of year gets out of control, to meditate, to read things I wouldn’t normally pick up and to reconnect with people (albeit over the phone).

Painting and patching around the house were slotted in and I even started taking online guitar lessons.

There was an upside to remote learning and some of us embraced it with gusto.