Well the merry-go-round of Off Campus Learning (OCL) continues. In such a tumultuous time when schools have had to adapt to the beat of a pandemic which has modified what we take for granted and once again – controlled all our lives. From the moment we were notified of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, we as a College community have had to adapt to ensure the teaching and learning environment continued. Teachers have once again been asked to reinvent themselves and how to best deliver their lessons using zoom and google classroom. Students have had to become independent learners focused on completing the work to the best of their ability, learning to ask questions when they were uncertain, seek regular feedback so that they could improve the quality of their work and ensure they kept up to date with all the allocated work. During this time, parents have returned to their days as a student, attempting to support their sons with their online learning. A daunting task for many of us parents. Now we are uncertain as to when, as a learning community, we may be coming out of OCL this time. I am so proud of all our teachers, students and parents for the manner in which we continue to support and encourage each other during this time. The EREA Touchstone, Liberating Education, encourages us to open our hearts and minds, through teaching and learning experiences, so we can encourage each person to be hope-filled for a better world. Thank you to all members of our community for being in solidarity during this time in our history.
To begin Term 3 remotely, has once more been a challenging period. Such an enormous change to our learning, our lives, our families, the way we interpret normal. Your reactions may have varied; from being confused, angry, anxious all at different times. But this reaction is completely normal. It is a natural response – it is called being human. The one constant thing if we have learnt anything from 2020; the most consistent thing throughout this time of isolation, online learning and teaching, lifestyle restrictions is ‘change’ itself.
In relation to an approach to learning, ensuring a growth mindset as opposed to it being a fixed mindset, i.e. A growth mindset allows you, in this time of change, to focus on your attitude and behaviour towards change. Negativity breeds negativity. A positive approach to things that you have direct control over – a growth mindset for you to control your environment. Many of you may have heard of the saying ‘not my circus – not my monkeys’, spending time worrying or focusing on things that are out of your control is an absolute waste of your time and effort which are both precious. Students in many cases should try and adopt the approach of a growth mindset to continue with their learning and control what they have the capacity to control.
Change should not control your behaviour – your behaviour should control and manage this change. You have modified your learning to online, a change in behaviour – some thrive whilst others struggle, this is the same for adults as well including teachers and parents. But I encourage you to look for the opportunities of individual growth, don’t try to predict the future or look too far down the track and continue to keep the communication lines open. As the NSW authorities continue to modify and alter our restrictions, increase numbers at gatherings, look at ways business and workers can return to work safely, we will continually be exposed to information regarding changes to our lives post this current strain of COVID-19.
Edmund Rice College throughout all these difficult times, will continue to communicate and look for opportunities when we are able to have staff and students back on-campus in a safe environment. We will also endeavour to seek opportunities to celebrate the achievements of our students and reinvent some of the ways we do things. It definitely has altered the way we view common practice, it may have even opened up a number of avenues for improved practices, placing people outside their comfort zones and as a community we believe the future is bright.
For the moment, where possible: stay safe, stay healthy and stay home.