- Anita Klein, Wellbeing Coordinator, Benjamin Franklin International School
Lockdown life in Barcelona Spain began on 15 March 2020. Those students in International schools were confined to their homes but had the privilege of moving into a new virtual learning program.
My personal experience has been in the International education system as Wellbeing Coordinator and 9th/10th Grade Counselor. My focus has been on pastoral care and the wellbeing of our students and staff during tough lockdown conditions. The initial days of lockdown brought with it a roller coaster of emotions for many. Some students were excited by the thought of no school and time in pyjamas with endless netflix and instagram. Others were concerned about loved ones. Some were dreading the prospect of being stuck at home. As students and teachers navigated their way through Google Meets, Google Classroom, Seesaw and other online platforms and learning resources a new routine became established.
This routine provided us and our students with some sense of stability during an uncertain time. It gave us focus and encouraged our students to develop self directedness. During the first few weeks of lockdown attention was given to those students with learning support needs. Some students thrive from working independently without distraction from their peers. Others find it overwhelming. Some have lost motivation. Others procrastinate. When students don’t understand a concept or teacher instructions it can be a genuine challenge and frustration for them. We continually do our best to provide support and adaptations to all of our individual student needs. It’s a challenge doing this virtually. But we are doing what we can with compassion and this is all we can do right now.
Teachers have struggled with finding a balance between live contact time with students and setting realistic assignments and projects. In the first few weeks expectations were sometimes confusing for students. It helps to send out parent, teacher and students surveys to meet regularly so that we can continually adapt our Virtual Learning Program to strike a healthy balance.
My work is primarily in the Secondary School sector and so my focus has been on checking in with as many students individually and providing weekly wellbeing messages and resources for both students and teachers.