Face-to-face school, good news for teachers and students
The return to school in person, which was to begin today for secondary and primary students but which will finally take place tomorrow, is good news for some, who could no longer stand the virtual mode.
Named “Blue Monday”, the 3rd Monday in January is said to be the most depressing day of the year, according to an urban legend. At Métro, we have instead decided to make it a day of positive news. Happy reading, then, and have a nice day!
Félix La, a Secondary 4 student at Dunton Academy in the east end of Montreal, is one of the lucky ones. He says he felt a sense of relief when schools were reopened. “I wasn't discouraged, but just frustrated and disappointed with [the situation surrounding] the pandemic,” he says.
The 16-year-old explains that he is in an enriched class , with courses whose material is more consistent.
Since online school is far from the best way to learn, the students in this class have only been revising for an exam for two weeks. “Teachers are afraid that the material will be misunderstood,” says Félix.
On December 21, schools across Quebec had to hastily closed their doors without distance learning.
“I can't wait to have my little gang!”
Diane, an attendant for disabled students in an elementary school, is also delighted that classes are starting again. At the moment, she works in the school's daycare service, whereas normally she accompanies the students for whom she is responsible in their class. “Right now I feel like I'm babysitting. I work, I get paid, but I don't do anything constructive… Whereas when I work face-to-face, I am sure that I’re really helping the students.”
When students are in class, there is a discipline that does not necessarily exist at home. Parents don’t always have the time or the skills to help them.
Diane, attendant for disabled students in an elementary school
If she works with toddlers, Diane knows that confinement particularly affects adolescents. One of her colleagues has a 14-year-old daughter who suffered from depression at the start of the pandemic. The young girl loves school and she is very close to her friends. “Being cut off from it all… it didn’t go well. When they announced the reconfinement this year, my colleague saw that her daughter was panicking, so she said to herself: never mind the covid: we are going to the chalet with three of her friends!” Upon learning that Diane was giving an interview to Métro, the colleague deliberately asked her to talk about her daughter's situation to raise awareness of youth mental health.
“I know that there are children who are lonely and for whom it works very well when they are alone,” admits Diane. “But the majority need to be in school with other young people, and to have discipline.” She can't wait to find the students, her “little gang”.
Easier to learn in presence
During the confinement, Diane called one of her students every day, for 5 to 10 minutes a day, to encourage him to do his work. “That’s not much!” In class, she is with him 2 hours a day. “I help him do his work, I can bring him back to order. At home, we don't know what's going on…”
Felix agrees. He says he has a lot of trouble concentrating and understanding well when being taught online. He much prefers face-to-face school to being in class with his teacher.
“I am a visual person when I learn. For example, in science class, we did revision and there was an exercise that I really did not understand. The teacher, despite trying to explain it to me, couldn't draw from a distance,” says the student.
In addition to looking forward to seeing his teachers in the flesh, Félix is in a hurry to see his classmates again. “I think we really have a great chemistry together and I miss that because I was alone in front of my computer with the camera and the microphone closed,” he says.