Covid-19 has entirely changed what education looks like, with a universal switch from in-person teaching to remote, virtual lessons. As a result, millions of pupils across the globe have missed out on the valuable experience of one-to-one guidance, social development and regular changes of environment.
Whilst teachers would more easily be able to identify struggling students when in front of them in the classroom, their mental health struggles can be missed over busy video calls.
Here are some steps you can take to support your students with the difficulties they may face from studying during Covid-19.
Staring at a screen for hours can make for a mentally-draining environment to learn in, and this fatigue may negatively impact pupils’ mental wellbeing. Ease this difficulty by taking mindfulness breaks throughout long lessons.
This may include short meditation breaks where you encourage students to take deep, slow breaths, or playing some relaxing music for the class to listen to together.
Activities such as colouring also help to take students’ minds off their workload for a while as well as take their tired eyes off the screen.
Help pupils understand what is happening in the world around them
Worries about the events of the world can affect young people’s mental health and their anxiety can be worsened if they feel that things are being kept hidden from them. It is important that pupils have their questions answered so they can better understand their situation, without leaving them feeling overwhelmed.
A key aspect of schooling that students have missed out on is spending time with friends between lessons, and they may feel that on-screen socialising feels forced. This interaction, however, is essential to children’s development.
Build fun group activities into lessons and allow them to chat freely among themselves as if in the classroom, encouraging friendships they would usually find in person and reducing their feelings of isolation.
Have catch-up sessions with students
Hosting one-on-one time with each pupil will allow them to open up about any worries they have that they may not feel comfortable bringing up in front of the entire class. They may have secretly had issues with their academic work or may be struggling with spending so much time alone, and you can work through these together.
Learn how to be an effective and supportive educator through a teacher training programme at Notting Hill College.