Remote Learning January 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Over the last few days, the staff have been organising books and learning materials for your children and the vast majority of them will be collected from the school today.

Unlike the school closure last year, this time around we have been allowed access to the school building immediately, Google Classroom has already been set up for the whole school, the books (which are essential for the children, particularly the younger children) will be at home straight away and we all have the experience of the lockdown last year behind us.

Therefore, for this closure the children and teachers will be able to focus on progressing with the curriculum by setting lessons based on the texts the children would have been using in school. This was not possible the last time as we were unable to distribute books until 26th May 2020.

Instead of a list of work being emailed to parents at the start of each week, this time there will be daily lessons for the children to engage with on Google Classroom. There will be a mix of instructional videos or demonstrations recorded by the teachers and task setting depending on the class, age group etc. In all cases, families will be able to access the content at a time that is convenient for them and their home situations. Children and parents can take pictures of completed work and upload this to Google Classroom and receive teacher feedback.

Once again, Google Classroom has been organised per class with the current class teacher running each virtual classroom and they will upload content mainly created by them however, some videos could feature other teachers in the same year group. We have decided to use a collaborative teacher approach to keep the flow of content consistent should a class teacher become ill or unavailable at some point. However, at all times, the teacher engaging with the children and feedback given on the platform will be from the class teacher only.

Since our return to school after the last lockdown, we anticipated that there might be another school closure at some point and wanted to be prepared as much as possible for that. There have been many considerations taken on how we would approach things and some of the main ones are:

  • Getting the school books and learning materials home as quickly as possible – it is much easier for children in all year groups to interact with the books and copies they are familiar with rather than navigating websites to access online versions. Also, for families who have limited or no access to the internet having physical books at home is a priority.
  • Live lessons or videos – we have decided to use videos  to make it more convenient for parents working, those with more than one child at home and those with limited access to multiple IT devices so they can access lessons and content whenever they have the chance. It also means the teachers at TETNS who now have to look after their own children at home during this time can record the content when they also get the opportunity.
  • The infant classes do not use a lot of books – this caused a considerable headache to parents last time as it is hard / next to impossible to get infants to work from a computer. This time we are allowed access to the building so teachers can organise work packs which can be supported by online content on Google Classroom.

Another school closure is not what anyone in the school community wanted and it is certainly everyone’s wish that we are able to return to school as soon as possible because that is the environment that serves the children’s needs the best. Getting back into remote learning is going to be challenging for children and parents and can be a very stressful time especially when lots of you are trying to work from home, at the same time. All you can do is your best and examine the work we give and focus on what you can achieve whilst prioritising core subjects like English and Maths which will go a long way. It’s not easy but with any luck we will be back to school sooner rather than later!

Finally, a separate email regarding Google Classroom will be sent from the school and those of you without access can start the process by following the instructions there. Any issues with the platform after setup can be dealt with by emailing help@tetns.ie .

The very best of luck to everyone this week and if there are any teething problems we will look to get them rectified as quickly as possible.

Take care,

Tim