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At Their Coal-Face: seeing what my kids see

I worked with a student this week and they shared their school-screen with me. They showed me the repository for all their work and it hurt my head and I’m the adult. There was so much for them to process and to manage.

The student’s school is, to be fair, doing a lot right. They are doing live lessons and they are doing in-person lessons concurrently. Students are given resources prior to lessons largely but they are also given EVERYTHING. It’s so tricky. So very tricky for everyone. Everyone is doing the best they can.

But that’s not the subject here. The point here is that, even when a school is doing a lot right, there are still things that are utterly overwhelming for students. The students have so many places they need to log onto, they have to sign in here, show their faces there and open PowerPoint and Google Classrooms, and Show My Homework and a gazillion other things. All of these Apps are good programmes and can be so useful for kids. But they’re being bombarded.

I’m part of the bombarding problem, and we’re only using two platforms. I don’t think I could manage more than that!

Other schools use more and use them differently. And then I think of parents; how are they meant to work out what to do with siblings at different schools, with different systems and logons.

Seeing what the kids see and what their parents are fielding: the kids’ coalface is a difficult place and we must not forget that. They are fielding a gazillion different things that they’d not even heard of last year. They’re dealing with the upset of a lockdown that wasn’t expected 10 days ago and they’re stuck in limbo with their exams.

Schools and teachers- me included- I need to be so careful not to overwhelm my students. Their coalface is hard and sometimes impenetrable, and I don’t want to contribute to that.