Another Week

Ara aktar l-isfel għall-verżjoni bil-Malti

As I write this, measures to contain the spread of the virus are becoming stricter, while some people are still behaving irresponsibly. We do not really know what is going to happen, or how long schools will be closed for.

There are a few realities that as educators we are trying to contend with.

We are concerned about our students. And we are not just concerned about academic progress. We are concerned about vulnerable families, and in particular about vulnerable children who may be stuck in abusive situations. Being stuck at home is a challenge for everyone and even more so for people with mental health issues. Please look out for vulnerable families and children. Give them a call, or reach out to authorities if need be.

We are learning as we go along. No educator was really prepared for this. And before anyone starts pointing fingers with the usual talk of teachers having it easy, teachers have been working round the clock to provide work for students, learning how to do things as they went along. And I could not be prouder of staff members at Zabbar B who rose to the challenge. Of course we are making mistakes but we are trying our hardest and our best.

We also have families. We have parents, children, grandparents, elderly relatives who depend on our help. Yes, this whole situation is overwhelming for all of us. And it is perfectly fine to feel overwhelmed. We can empathise with how parents and children must be feeling at this time. And because of this we want to make sure that the work we are setting our students is actually helping.

We have created a survey to gather feedback about the tasks we are setting our students. There is an English and a Maltese version. Please take a few minutes to fill this in. It will help us to help you.

A few other points…

Individual Requests – We are receiving numerous emails with specific requests. Regretfully, we are unable to reply to individual emails and meet every request, even though we are making every effort to do so.

QR Codes – We are being asked for QR codes to access material on tablets. You do not need QR codes to access the material related to the work we are posting online and teachers are working on making other material available without the need of the QR code.

Printing material from tablets – We have been asked whether it is possible to print material from students’ tablets, This can be done by attaching the tablet to a computer and accessing the tablet as a USB device. Search for pdf files and you should find all the handouts that teachers have uploaded on the tablets. At this point we do not know of an easier way to do this.

Tasks for students – We understand that parents may feel overwhelmed by the situation we are facing. But… Parents have a huge role to play in their children’s education in any case, and now more than ever. We are making work available. We are trying our best but we cannot do it all alone.

We need parents to take an active role and support us remotely. This is an excellent opportunity for children to develop independent learning skills and digital competences. Explain the work (if needed) and then let them get on with the work on their own. It is fine if they make mistakes. Impact have published some great tips for primary age parents and the current situation.

If there are parents who genuinely cannot manage, we understand. We also understand that it is much easier to simply let children play on their tablet, or watch TV all day long. And it is fine if that happens on a bad day. However, that should not happen every day. We will not insist on all the work assigned being done but we believe that children will gain from it. I will not mince my words – if some parents cannot be bothered, don’t blame the school for trying.

Finally, I want to thank the entire school community for the support. We are in this together. There may be worse days ahead, but there are also better days to come.

Stay positive. Stay safe. Stay inside!

Charlot Cassar
Head of School