Frontline heroes series part 4: guiding students through pandemic

Frontline heroes series part 4: Teachers guide students through pandemic

Teachers continue to be committed, dedicated, caring professionals providing support to students and parents as they navigate the challenges of a global pandemic including a delayed start to the 2022 school year.

Southern Cross Catholic College Head of Secondary Campus Janelle Doohan says they have risen to every challenge, upskilling to become masters in online learning and doing all they can to ensure the school community still feels connected.

Janelle says the biggest challenges have been uncertainty, ongoing restrictions, disrupted learning and preparing for remote learning during the initial lockdown.

Restrictions in relation to large gatherings and school events including sporting competitions, performing arts productions, camps, awards and graduation ceremonies, masses and liturgies have also been challenging.

Janelle says there have however been opportunities to be innovative, creative and to collaborate to improve lesson delivery and engagement with students and families.

“Our team had to very quickly become ‘experts’ in delivering online/remote learning to students from Year 7-12,” she says.

“Teachers helped each other, taught each other, worked in groups/teams to ensure continuity of learning using Microsoft TEAMS.

“They worked long hours and went above and beyond in planning and preparing online lessons and gathering resources to ensure students were engaging with learning.”

Going the extra mile

Teachers have also adapted to ensure online learning suits all learners by providing extra support, where needed.

“Nothing was too difficult and they always took a team approach to dealing with the challenges, while showing care and concern for all areas of students’ learning and wellbeing,” Janelle says.

They have worked closely with Year 11 and 12 students to ensure they graduated, without undue stress, and reached their potential.

“We did this in partnership and collaboration with parents, which was critical in helping students achieve their best as we navigated the ever-changing landscape,” she says.

“We encouraged them to keep in contact with us regarding any matter relating to health, pastoral or academic concerns.”

Families have been appreciative, supportive and understanding of the challenges. College staff have rallied to support each other, checking in with each other regularly, sharing tips for online teaching, recognising peers’ efforts and starting each day with a prayer.

“I express my heartfelt thanks to all parents and families for their support,” Janelle says.

“I’m privileged to work alongside a very dedicated and hardworking team of staff who worked tirelessly to provide outstanding catholic secondary educational opportunities for all students.

“The teams include teachers, school officers, administration staff, grounds, maintenance and ancillary staff, middle and senior leaders and College Principal, Chris Campbell.

“We are thankful for all that has been achieved, the moments of celebration and the fortitude to face challenges with grit and determination.”

Read more frontline stories here

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