Teaching from home: No one was remotely ready for this 1/3

 

The teaching from home blog series consists of experiences and narratives we have gathered from teachers, parents, and students during calls with more than 2500 schools across LATAM during COVID-19. The series is conceptualized and disseminated by Juan Carlos Soriano, COO of CanopyLAB LATAM.

This is part 1 in the series Teaching from home. Read part 2 and 3.

 


 

Marco, a six-year-old boy, had just finished his first week of classes at a private school in Lima, Peru when the Peruvian government announced a strict national lockdown which would initially last for two weeks. Since then, the government announced that schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year (until 2021) and classes will continue online.

 

According to Gaby, Marco’s mom, Marco doesn’t react well to sudden changes, for this very reason, she spent the summer holidays preparing Marco to transition from kindergarten to primary school. Marco seemed to be adjusting well to his first week at school, but little did he know that today, Thursday, March 12th, 2020, would be his last day attending school this year.

 

That same Thursday in March, after the government announced it was suspending in-person classes, she was instructed by the school administration to send Marco and the rest of her students home with all the materials and resources they had brought in for the full school year.

 

Miss Jenny¹, Marco’s teacher, started working on her lesson plans for the school year in mid-January. Teaching is her passion and she devoted her career to empowering every single student that comes through her classroom. Over the years she has developed pedagogical skills to create the most nurturing learning environment for her students. That same Thursday in March, after the government announced it was suspending in-person classes, she was instructed by the school administration to send Marco and the rest of her students home with all the materials and resources they had brought in for the full school year.

 

That day, when Marco emerged from the school gates barely managing to carry all his school supplies Gaby recalls: “I had this weird feeling that a big change was coming”.

 

Gaby, Marco’s mom, was alerted that classes were being suspended through the parents WhatsApp group she joined before the school year. That day, when Marco emerged from the school gates barely managing to carry all his school supplies Gaby recalls: “I had this weird feeling that a big change was coming”.

 

In Latin America, underdeveloped public education systems combined with staggering inequalities make this pandemic the most challenging education crisis the region has ever experienced

 

In Peru, only 39% of households nationwide have Internet access (a number that differs enormously from a geographical perspective, in rural areas it is only 5%). Digital illiteracy rates are high, even amongst teachers. This poses a big challenge to the rapidly emerging need for virtual learning in education. In Latin America, underdeveloped public education systems combined with staggering inequalities make this pandemic the most challenging education crisis the region has ever experienced. After the initial government statement, teachers remained hopeful that lockdown would only last for two weeks. But no one could have prepared them for what came next.

 

Key Takeaways

  • How do we ensure the mental robustness of our students, who are affected by COVID-19?
  • Parents work in a deliberate way to prepare their children for going to school, but how are we supporting them at home?
  • In Peru, the private and the public sectors are still struggling to transition to digital, and with news that some universities worldwide are starting to opt for postponing campus-based classes until 2021, how may support a nation-wide adoption of remote teaching in Peru?
  • How do we best support Miss Jenny’s transition to remote teaching while maintaining the student-teacher relationship?

 


¹Miss Jenny’s real identity is kept anonymous

 

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