Just in case anyone has missed the news, we are experiencing a viral pandemic.
As an immunologist, I have more than a passing interest in the scientific developments. As a human being, I’m absolutely horrified at some of the shenanigans I see unfolding on social media. As we find ourselves in a situation of national mass panic, the likes of which I have never seen before, I find myself exploring alternative methods to continue to tutor if I can’t invite students into my classroom.
As I write this, education is in turmoil. Some of the universities have chosen to close already, but secondary and primary schools remain open. Exams are still scheduled for the June 2020 season. The message from the Department for Education is clearly ‘business as usual’.
I’ve tried hard to put together a lovely learning environment in a small classroom at the bottom of my garden. It’s bright and airy, with little distraction – apart from my spaniel pleading to come in at the glass door. But, following the news closely both here in the UK and abroad, I’m wondering if inviting students into the classroom from different towns and villages, and different schools is such a good idea.
This weekend, I have trialled Skype tuition with three students I see regularly face to face. Whereas my initial expectations were a bit low, I am pleasantly surprised to report that all three experiences were very favourable. One student, who drives quite a distance to see me, actually felt that the advantages of Skype outweighed the disadvantages – it was saving her over an hour of travelling time and she didn’t have to tackle a busy motorway.
I am expecting tuition to be quieter in the next few weeks, not all students want to try virtual teaching. But at least I can continue to offer a service, and with time on my hands (and the possibility of being pretty much confined to the house) I intend to explore other platforms to deliver lessons online.
Watch this space. Reports to follow.