Jenny enters the staff room and slams the door. Peter looks up from marking assignments.
Peter: ‘Wow, Jenny, what’s the matter?
Jenny: ‘I’ve just had a parent on the phone, complaining that her daughter hates my lessons.’
Peter: ‘Really? You’ve always been great with your classes – what’s happened?’
Jenny: ‘Well, as you know, because of Covid, I’m having to teach nearly a third of my class online, so we can space out the remaining kids in the classroom, and because some parents – understandably, in my view – are unhappy with their kids coming to school while some kids remain unvaccinated. Lesley’s mum is one who opted for online learning this term, but now she’s complaining that Lesley feels left out of the class, and that I’m not giving her enough attention. But I’ve got 22 kids in front of me, and I can’t ignore them, and try as hard as I can, I just can’t give enough individual attention to every one of the kids online as well.’
Peter: ‘That’s not your fault, Jenny. The problem is due to the idiot in the school board who decided we should be teaching both face-to-face and online at the same time. The online students should have a dedicated teacher who is trained to teach online, but that’s not going to happen, because the school board didn’t see this kind of situation coming.’
Jenny: ‘Well, I don’t see it going away even after Covid. Raheed’s mum phoned me a couple of days ago, and said she wanted Raheed also to get online learning, because he prefers it – and you know he’s been the subject of quite a bit of bullying at school, so I’m not surprised.’
Peter: ‘Look, I took a short course on how to teach online – just 12 hours online from home over the holidays. I found it on the web, offered free by the local university. It was very helpful. It suggested several ways in which you can engage students online, but it does mean changing your teaching, both for the in-class students as well as those online. I’ll send you the link, if you like.’
Jenny (sighs): ‘Thanks, Peter. I’ll give it a try – I just can’t go on the same way with this mixed class. No-one’s happy, least of all me.’
If any of that rings a bell, this is also the book for you.