“They’re struggling.” “What can we do? We aren’t teachers.”
High school teacher Alfio Raiti has heard plenty of despair from his students’ parents during remote learning.
Mr Raiti, along with many other Victorian teachers, understands how hard the impact of covid-19 has been on the state’s almost 60,000 VCE students.
As a parent himself, he hopes he can help parents motivate and guide their children through remote learning.
Here are his five top tips to help parents during VCE remote learning.
1. Set them a space in the house
If remote learning requires home to be the “new school environment” then they will need desk space with quiet and privacy.
Year 12 student Carla Scalise said home learning was difficult.
“It has been challenging to find a space to learn in, my house is full of distractions. You’re not just doing homework – this is a full school day,” she said.
After suggestions from her teachers, she found a space in her home that was set just for her, without surrounding distractions.
She has now been able to get comfortable at home and highly recommends other students make the effort.
2. They wouldn’t have their phones in class, so they shouldn’t be on them during online classes
Carla said having access to phones at home was definitely distracting. “At school we don’t have access to our phones they have to be in our lockers,” she said.
“Having that freedom to go on our social medias or our computers is very challenging in remote learning.”
Mr Raiti said self-control and technological disciplines important.
“Take the phone off them if you have too, that’s what we would have done in school,” he said.
3. Make sure they take plenty exercise breaks
ExceriseRight, a public awareness campaign promoting being active, argues for the importance of exercise to mental alertness: “Although hours of studying burn mental energy, both your body and mind need physical exercise to function at their peak.
Mr Raiti said something as simple as going outside and doing some stretches or going for a walk/run around the block will clear your head so you don’t feel overwhelmed during the school day.
4. Make sure your children are contacting their teachers
“We can’t help them with what they don’t understand if they don’t tell us,” Mr Raiti said.
He said 30 years of experience has taught him the importance of asking for help and tasking about what you don’t understand.
5. Check in with them regularly – their mental health is crucial
Year 11 student Rachel Tamburro said she has found remote learning very hard.
“My mental health has been up and down,” she said.
“I’m overthinking too much, not seeing all my friends and not having the social aspect to school is demotivating.”
Mr Raiti said supporting mental health was crucial.
“We don’t want the stresses that this pandemic is taking on their education to affect their happiness.”