Like everybody the Coronavirus lockdown caught us all off guard but at the back of our minds we had been prepared. Phoenix College began as an online school, preparing students who wanted to make the very most of their A-levels.
Once we decided to shut down, we all knew what systems needed to be put in place and how. The school directors organised online meetings, regarding how we would initiate and train everyone as to how to make the most out of online teaching. A reformed timetable was quickly set up and lessons began immediately.
We were aware of the challenges presented by online teaching and can see how the logistics confronting larger schools would appear daunting but because our ethos from the outset has been to have small classes with dedicated staff this has meant our size has been an advantage allowing us to be nimble and to more ably adapt to challenges as they arose. And challenges, they did arise. Despite the fact that we were more prepared than most to teach online (we were already familiar with quality online teaching software) and that our students are fortunate enough to have good pcs and internet connection we can´t overstate the difficulties that have to be overcome in those first few stressful weeks.
Overall the students have responded fantastically, the lessons have been dynamic and fun, although not without their glitches at times. We learned how to make the most of new platforms and software as well as making use of WhatsApp groups to stay connected with our students.
Some of the new technologies include; Kahoot (for quizzes), Google Classroom (for homework), www.exam.net (for exams) and Webinar platforms.
We have explored, made mistakes and learned new skills while continuing to make progress but most importantly we have experienced all this together.
We are at present making preparations for the next academic year so that Phoenix College will be ready to start, come what may, in September 2020. It will be wonderful to see all of our present AS students who will be moving up to A2 and we look forward to welcoming our new AS cohort to Phoenix 6th Form College in what we hope will be a challenging and rewarding experience that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Register for our Webinar ‘Nurturing Success’ Thursday 21st May at 6pm.