Diary of Spain in Lockdown - Easter Holidays and a break from schoolwork?

Thursday 9th April – Easter Holidays, let the fun begin!           

Free from the constant onslaught of work sent electronically by teachers, free from online classes I have to give, we now have a week and a half at home to please ourselves…….erm, in which parallel universe?

Despite the Ministry of Education advising teachers not to pile on the workload over Easter and let students have a proper rest, some schools seem to have gone into overdrive sending tasks to keep their pupils busy over the next few days and I certainly have plenty of marking to keep me busy. At a friend’s school, teachers have even been told to continue giving online classes during the holidays. But that’s a high-achieving private school, so the parents are probably mightily pleased with that.

Yes, I can see the arguments in favour of keeping up the rhythm of studying, not letting students lie in bed until 3pm every day, but at the same time, who are the ones that will benefit most from this virtual schooling? Who will continue studying the content needed for the rest of this school year? Will it be those who struggle to pay attention in classes under normal circumstances? Will it be those who just scrape by? Will it be those from less well-off families where there’s maybe one laptop to go around?

Of course it won’t be. If we’re not careful the gap between the high and low achievers will become even larger. The Grade A students, who already have great study habits, who know how to organise themselves, who don’t get distracted, who already study independently, will flourish in this new situation. They are also likely to be the ones with parents supporting them, who can explain concepts they don’t understand, and they will most likely have a quiet place to study.
At the other end of the spectrum are those whose parents can’t help them because they haven’t studied the subjects themselves or because they are working from home and can’t be constantly aiding and monitoring their children as the teacher would in a classroom situation. (In my case, I am totally lost in most things my two older daughters study, mainly because it’s all in Spanish and Valencian but also because what they’re doing I haven’t looked at for nearly 30 years and when it comes to maths, well, Spanish maths has long been a mystery to me. Fortunately they have their dad and he’s a clever chap.)

Where we live a lack of electronic devices is certainly not a problem, but what is true here and everywhere is that for students who struggle, this period of lockdown could have terrible consequences for their studies.

I have to say I find myself agreeing with the Education Ministry on this one, that we mustn’t demand too much from pupils while they are studying at home. Continue to teach and guide them, yes, connect with them wherever possible, of course, they need to see their classmates from time to time. But it seems wrong to evaluate them too stringently on what they’re studying now.

Perhaps we could do like the football leagues are suggesting, draw a line under our current positions and those would be the final marks students get. But would that be fair? Certainly not for English, which, here in Spain is ‘continual evaluation’. This means that a student can fail the first two terms but if they pass the final term, they pass the year.  I’ve heard some experts talking about estimated grades by teachers while my daughter tells me she’s heard talk of repeating the school year. Personally I can’t see that one happening.

Not wanting to sound like a hypocrite, I have actually set my students some work to do, as instructed from above, but I have tried to keep it to a minimum , watch a film in English and write me a short review about it, do a page or two of exercises. Well, they have got nearly two weeks.

And as for me, I have plenty of marking to do, (I promise I won’t be too harsh) and I should probably also be making some inspirational teaching videos for my students for when we get back to our virtual classes. Better go and get on with it…………

Sponsored Ad

Recent Tweets

Recent Articles

published 9 months 2 weeks ago

Copyright 2005-2021. Catherine Dolan Blogger - Design by  Creative Limón Back to Top

Back to Top