Our appreciation for teachers has skyrocketed during learning from home

Home learning has given the public an understanding of the education system and a new-found appreciation for what teachers do for their students. Photo: Shutterstock
Home learning has given the public an understanding of the education system and a new-found appreciation for what teachers do for their students. Photo: Shutterstock

An online connection made all the difference for Year 11 student Brianna Newell when home learning.

Each day for 15 minutes, Brianna would connect with her homeroom teacher and students from other year groups.

The teacher running it had never met any of the students before, as she stepped into the role just as home learning began.

"She has made the biggest effort to get to know all of us, which is hard when you have 20 teenagers on a Zoom meeting who are not always super interested in talking," Brianna said.

"She made it a comfortable, bubbly, happy, no pressure experience, and I am really grateful for her trying to lift our spirits every day."

In Pennant Hills NSW, Brianna's school made the school day shorter to reduce screen time and allowed time and space for students to connect or complete homework.

They also sent out optional wellbeing checks for students, and if anything out of the ordinary was noticed, teachers would check-in.

This extra effort and dedication to students has been seen around the country, with Monash University recently completing a study which revealed 72 per cent of Australians trusted that teachers work was in students' best interests.

This increased public appreciation was a direct result of COVID-19 and the transition to learning from home.

The study, Perceptions of Australian schooling: What matters in 2021, asked more than 1000 Australians about their perceptions of teaching and schooling.

Other results showed 76 per cent agreed that teachers care for the wellbeing of their students, and 76.6 per cent were in favour of rethinking how schools operate by creating a flexible model where some classes can be taken online, while just over half (56.7 per cent) believed the transition to home learning was successful.

"There has been a phenomenal effort by teachers and school leaders to maintain connections and provide targeted support for students. This required attention, persistence and resilience, particularly when personally dealing with the increased workload and their own particular circumstances," Melbourne Graduate School of Education senior lecturer Dr Natasha Ziebell said.

"Teachers have developed creative solutions and innovative teaching methods to minimise the barrier created by technology. They have addressed learning needs alongside prioritising students' wellbeing, showing kindness, compassion and understanding.

"The broader community has had a unique insight into the education system and has gained a new appreciation for the dedication, and the expertise teachers have shown when supporting students at all stages of their education."

This story Our appreciation for teachers has skyrocketed during learning from home first appeared on The Canberra Times.