19th March 2020
The novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is a time of great uncertainty for everyone. As the global crisis unfolds, each one of us has a duty to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe by practicing good hygiene and social distancing.
Schools, shops and businesses are closed. Our lives are temporarily on hold. So, what can we do? There are practical ways to offer support to pupils, family, friends and the wider community during school closures.
This is a difficult time for many parents and guardians as they navigate the unchartered territory of home-schooling; it can be hard to know what to do or where to start. As a teacher, you have invaluable knowledge you can share online to the benefit of others.
In a recent trend, teachers are taking to social media to offer help to their online community. In a post, teachers state their area of expertise, whether they teach in primary or secondary, and offer their support to parents and guardians who are at home with young children or home-schooling. By offering guidance and practical advice, you’ll be providing vital tools to those managing home learning for the first time and can help keep children’s learning on track during this unprecedented time while schools are closed. Post links to recommended teaching resources that provide useful material for parents and guardians who are suddenly feeling the pressure of creating their own curriculum. It’s also a good idea to reassure families who are struggling that they’re not expected to re-create school at home. Children may be feeling anxious and if they’re finding it difficult to keep up with structured learning, they can learn other life skills at home through cooking, baking, physical exercise, play and meditation. INTO has compiled a comprehensive list of home-schooling resources for you to share.
Members are reminded that if you are providing support online, consider setting up an email/social media presence specifically for professional purposes rather than providing access to your personal account.
If you’ve ever thought about setting up your own YouTube channel, now is the perfect time to start! Why not host a virtual classroom sharing lesson plans, crafting ideas, PE plans, games, etc. to keep pupils learning and entertained. Share the link to your channel with your school or class.
Looking after your community
You may know someone in your neighbourhood who may be in the higher risk category or who feels particularly vulnerable at this worrying time. Reach out to them, by phone or even a note in the letterbox, to let them know you are thinking of them and offer to assist with shopping, collect a prescription or walk the dog. Small gestures such as these can have a profound uplifting effect and even a simple ‘hello’ can help alleviate loneliness.
HSE – ‘Be On Call for Ireland’
If you would like to support the health services and you think you have a relevant skillset that can help, the HSE has begun a major recruitment drive for healthcare professionals and volunteers. If you’d like to find out more, read the FAQ here. You can set up a profile in order to register your interest. You can also upload your CV, listing any useful skills you may have that could be put to good use.
If you are in good health and want to formally volunteer, you can register with Volunteer Ireland (www.volunteer.ie) in your local Volunteer Centre. Volunteer Ireland expects to receive a large volume of advertisements for Covid-19-related volunteer roles in the coming days and weeks. These roles will include Covid-19 support roles and others will be to help maintain services in local community organisations.