A Maltese teacher has decided to take to Facebook to show people the true ups and downs of online learning, bringing up a number of important points that should be taken into consideration when weighing in on the debate of school re-openings in September.
“I wasn’t going to write anything about the comments on school reopenings because I was honestly giving up,” the teacher started, saying it’s virtually impossible to explain things rationally when it comes to many Maltese people.
“Schools, for the people (and politicians) have just become a mechanism which liberates you from your children for a number of hours per day, and whether they’re learning anything or not probably doesn’t interest you either.”
Among the issues raised was the fact that, according to the teacher’s personal experiences, children who aren’t pushed by their parents to attend the lessons simply don’t. There is no way to force them to attend from the teacher’s side, and they end up completely missing out on the syllabus.
“Isn’t it obvious your daughter didn’t learn anything online if she never attended a single lesson? Should I have come to your house, get her out of bed and turned on her computer?”
The teacher continued that this is not valid grounds for dismissing online lessons, because it feeds into the rhetoric of not holding parents accountable for their own child’s education.
“But if I get sick, what will happen?” he argues. “In one day, I meet at least 80 students. If these all fall from the sky and into my classroom in some way, that’s already 80 families in quarantine… besides my own. Now imagine my school, where there are nearly 1,000 students and about 200 staff members.”
While considering the logistics and attempting to protect children’s mental health, it’s of utmost importance to safeguard public health and vulnerable kids, he continues.
The teacher clarifies his position on the debate by saying he obviously wants schools to be opened… “but there’s a big difference between what I ‘want’ and what ‘is needed’. This is what the people don’t want to understand”.
He continues by explaining how the social aspect of school has been lost to the black screens of switched-off cameras and how tedious work has become.
He prompts those in power by reminding people of the infamous Think Tank which was set up for the explicit purpose of discussing solutions to education in the time of the pandemic, but seems to have fallen off the radar and not offered up any of the promised solutions.
“If school isn’t a mass gathering, then I don’t know what you can call it.”
“As far as I know, mass gatherings are dangerous and forbidden,” he continued. “Or does it not matter when it’s a school?”
“What did these ‘experts’ come up with?” he asked. “It would be ideal if, as educators, we know what is going to happen so we can prepare ourselves, preferably before the first day of school.”
“I wish schools didn’t have to close,” the teacher later clarified in the comments section. “I wish I could have continued with my preparations for the Form 5 Farewell. I wish the Prize Day could have happened. I wish the sleepovers could have happened. I was very looking forward to going trekking with my kids. Those are the things that I believe are the most important parts of our children’s education, but the time that we’re living in didnt’ allow these things to happen.”
“Going online is definitely not my first choice, but it’s a choice that we all need to keep available just in case,” he finished.