All students have finally returned to school on Friday of last week. They came back in staggered stages – years 12 and 11 who were studying VCE subjects for 2 weeks before the end of last term together with prep to year 2 students. There was a 2 week holiday break and the same students returned for the first week or term 4. On week 3, year 7 students returned full time, with years 3, 4 and 9 coming back on Tuesday and Wednesday; and years 5 and 6 and year 10 on Thursday and Friday.
This was rather difficult to manage, as I teach all year levels from year 3 through to year 12. It meant a mix of face to face, remote and hybrid learning as my year 9/10 class is a composite class, so half were at home and the other half actually at school. We were continued to teach from home where possible and come in to school when our classes were face to face. MS Teams continued to be used. When I had a hybrid class, I would connect my laptop to the large monitor in the classroom, call a Teams meeting with all students logging in to the Team.
Problems occured when I played music for them to enter the class as although I shared the sound through Teams, it came out of the monitor speakers for my class. This meant the remote students could not hear the music. Students in the actual classroom had to be muted or feedback occurred.
Numbers became erratic in the last few weeks as disengagement became increasingly obvious especially amongst the years 9 and 10 students. Year 5 and 6 could choose to come to ICT classes, as they occurred in the afternoon, but as they had spent the morning on computers, we were very aware of not forcing them to attend the afternoon and reduce screen time. Numbers were low most times, with most opting not to attend.
Year 3 and 4 commenced using MS Teams during the last couple of lockdowns and this seemed to work well with the younger age group. It is certainly better to have some live interaction with the teacher for a part of each school day, rather than parents trying to cope with living/working at or from home and trying to help their children with their school work for the whole morning.