So we know we’re in a waiting period with the pandemic, a ‘liminal zone’ and things will never be the same again.
But already they’re not the same as they used to be. We’re already applying the lessons we haven’t yet properly learnt.
Although Victorian schoolkids have barely had any face-to-face classes this year, my daughter’s school has announced that the pre-VCE lessons held this week will be ‘online’.
That’s right – kids that have been shut up at home for much of the year have been told they don’t need to come to school anymore. The online revolution has started – we knew it would, just not that it would come so quickly when things had just started returning to something like normal.
Watch: The horoscopes homeschooling their kids. Post continues below.
Let’s ignore the fact that these kids have barely seen their friends all year, or any adults beside their parents. Let’s ignore the fact that those same parents are screaming mad to get them out of the house so they can concentrate on their own work.
Secondary school home learning - like it or not; quarantine or not - is here to stay.
Of course the Year 11 and 12 kids at least had some school to go to – most schools felt some kind of a responsibility to see them through their final years as best they could.
The younger years (in particular years 8-10, left home for a lot longer) suffered doubly through lack of attending and, presumably, lack of prioritising.
My son’s school – a prestigious select-entry one in Melbourne – largely shut down for the whole online learning experience. Many teachers simply didn’t bother to make an appearance online at all, and if they did, it often lasted only a few minutes before the kids were shunted off to pursue some mind-numbingly tedious task.
The whole year has been a complete write-off and my son, unsurprisingly, has lost any interest in education he ever had. If his teachers can’t be bothered, neither can he.
As for adult education, my own field, I shudder for its future. Already some institutions are embracing the online experience with alarming zeal. At one of the institutions at which I work, classes are compulsorily recorded (despite the lack of training in how to even teach online).
A union representative I spoke to mentioned that some places are already using recorded classes for retrospective evaluation of teacher skill (this has traditionally occurred only when teachers are informed in advance). And heaven only knows what happens to the recordings, supposedly stored in the nebulous ‘cloud’.