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School, pandemic and community challenges
Written by Teuta Braçaj* 27 Shtator 2021
Today begins the school year with the full physical participation of students in learning. Since there should be only one student in the bank, this year the teaching will take place in shifts in our schools. The period 1-24 September of the students' consultations for the improvement of knowledge, according to their own selection for the subjects where they have gaps or want to work even harder, served us as the pedagogical body and the students and parents, to identify the challenging subjects teaching for this academic year. These four weeks of supplementary education showed the real interest of students and parents, with the participation of over 50 percent of students in each lesson, with full student-teacher interaction when explaining the subjects Albanian Language, Literature, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Physics , Chemistry and Biology. With the Koronavirus still in circulation in its most prevalent and dominant Delta variant, the confrontation of our education system is already the classic one: with masks forced to be kept indoors, with temperature measurements, hand and environment disinfection, physical distancing and a strict protective protocol. What goes beyond the new regulations has to do with the constant communication of pedagogical staff-parents. This communication is decisive, so that at any moment that the student has a small health problem, the teacher knows and measures are taken to protect the student himself and all those who share the classroom and other environments with him. Our high school "Petro Nini Luarasi" realized the full online registration of students for this school year. This saved parents time and queues to wait in front of the school door for extended physical registration procedures. Every parent now has in their e-mail and mobile phone the communication addresses, not only with the teacher / caregiver of their registered child, but also of a school administrator / manager and her doctor and psychologist. On August 31, all parents received a congratulatory message, along with the internal regulations, the schedule for improving knowledge for the period September 1-24, the map of the school orientation and the explanation for the implementation of the schedule. The parent community reacted in the absolute majority positively to this communication initiative. We believe that now the pedagogical staff-parent ties are stronger than in previous years, as we communicate more closely and get to know each other better. The caretakers in each class under their responsibility have created the What's App network to communicate with the students' parents and from their reporting, these networks are active. Parents in What's App networks, not only respond to most of the announcements and information provided by the tutor, but they themselves have proposed measures to improve the learning consultation process of 1-24 September 2021. I think in this situation where we are, Early planning and mobilization of each school for its human resources, as well as reviewing the plans regularly, according to the development of the situation with Covid-19, are essential moves. Even though we are in the first autumn and the weather is very warm, each of our schools should think about the approaching winter. This will also be a difficult winter, with the presence of Coronavirus in its very dangerous Delta variant. We at Petro Nini Luarasi, have tried and with the support of the Municipality of Tirana and the European University of Tirana (UET), we are realizing heating air conditioning with the "Chiller" system in classrooms and corridors. This will enable us to better maintain the health of students and teachers in the school, during the very difficult winter 2021-2022. The immediate challenge now is to plan how to proceed for the December 2021 quarterly tests. This requires defining the participatory scenario from now on, so that students, parents and teachers know what to expect from the beginning of this academic year. In times of uncertainty, ensuring that plans and strategies are well understood by stakeholders, users and beneficiaries, is paramount. Communicating transparently on the planning process, providing real opportunities for community engagement and clear and regular communication, will play a primary role for us as teaching staff, in ensuring the families of students for maximum well-being, not only of the learning process, but also of the health situation in schools for their children. Ensuring continuous monitoring of the health situation and the development of learning, including how the proposed measures and their implementation are perceived by students, teachers and parents, will remove us from the misunderstandings and indifference of the parent community, which is rooted , when the communication of the pedagogical staff with the parents is non-continuous and scanty. Even at the risk of being overly invasive of parental privacy, as teachers, we should communicate with them on a daily basis, about the problems that appear in school. So far, parents have welcomed this approach and it shows that we are on the right track. I think that all parents should be informed, even for a specific case of health problems or for a typical case of teaching and learning problems. This is a practice that is widely applied in the pre-university system of the member states of the European Union and beyond and that has taken on the pandemic nowadays, an even more essential importance. A well-informed parent community will be the main guarantee for us, to have a full and effective cooperation with students and parents, to face the challenges of this academic year, again extremely difficult and challenging.
* Director of the general high school "Petro Nini Luarasi"