Home Columnists Bronwyn Cuddy: Remote learning – this isn’t even remotely funny

Bronwyn Cuddy: Remote learning – this isn’t even remotely funny

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Well if trying to home school your kids whilst simultaneously working and trying to keep calm amidst the chaos caused by the Covid – 19 global pandemic doesn’t amount to desperation, then I don’t know what does.

Constant hand washing to the point of your hands resembling scaly chicken’s feet, food shopping dashes that make the Hunger Game’s contestants look like amateurs and now having to educate your kids at home online with possibly one laptop, numerous passwords and codes and constant reminders from teachers to ensure that the deluge of assignments are completed may have you feeling just about ready to throw in the towel – queue Pink Floyd’s classic hit ‘Another brick in the wall’ on replay!

We need to put some perspective on the situation at hand. Let’s not forget that we are living through unprecedented times right now.

Education is vital but health is paramount. Yes, kids need to keep up to speed to some degree with their schoolwork, but you are not expected to introduce a rigorous routine which reflects the day to day running of a school.

There’s a reason those places are fenced in and teachers mostly look like extras from the Walking Dead!

Schools are living, breathing entities in their own right and to expect to recreate this environment in one’s own home in which tensions may already be high is a big ask of any parent.

Throw into the mix the daily onslaught of creative ‘how to’ instructions and activities to entertain the kids posted online and it’s enough to make even the most dedicated parent want to hand in their notice!

I know from personal experience that feeding my kids and keeping them from rugby tackling each other ten times a day is a big enough achievement in itself.

If and when I get around to it, producing artistically sculpted elephants made out of recycled milk cartons and baking scones which actually rise will be an added bonus!

So, with this in mind, try to take this in your stride. You can only do so much each day and the same goes for your kids.

Complete whatever assignments you can with them and if they’re falling behind let individual teachers know that you will send it on as soon as you get around to it.

Teachers are under pressure too, especially where exam classes are concerned.

Many of them are snowed under with online submissions whilst trying to home school their own children alongside keeping the toddler from chewing on the now ever charging laptop cables.

Exam students should use this time to make out their own notes, use flash cards to summarize important sections and practice exam papers.

Most teachers of exam years are probably doing their best to cover the rest of the courses via remote teaching.

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you don’t understand something. There are plenty of teachers online who will be only too willing to shed some light on whatever it is you’re having problems with.

The most important thing in all of this is that we all stay safe and calm.

That we establish and maintain some form of balance and routine in the home and in the process that we make it out the other side with body and mind in tact.

Education can wait, your physical and mental health and that of your families can’t!

SEE ALSO – Bronwyn Cuddy: ‘Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life’

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Bronwyn Cuddy is from Castletown and teaches English in St Mary's College in Naas