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Forget the Screen! Become a King or a Queen!

With crowns I will welcome my students in September! I will explain to them that ''every cloud has a silver lining'' and now it's time we all adjusted to the new norm. Wearing our crowns, doing activities, and having an age-appropriate open talk with them, I will try to elicit how important it is to put the era of change and uncertainty behind us. At the same time, I will ask them to come up with the positive aspects of having face-to-face lessons again. It is of utmost importance that children fully realise that this is a transition phase and that feeling stressed and uneasy is usual these days.

Here are 3 activities I will do with them depending on their level:
I will tell them that we are in the middle of a tunnel. About a year and a half ago, at the beginning of the tunnel was the Coronavirus and now we are walking towards the end of the tunnel. When we wear our crowns we have magical powers, X-ray vision and we can see many things at the end of the imaginary tunnel. Students have to describe/draw what they can see in the distance. Then, we will display their works of art at an exhibition in our school. Post-Covid era Time Capsule in which we will put pictures of everyone wearing their crowns and a short description of each student's feelings. We will open the Capsule on 25/9/2025 and we will compare our feelings now and then.

I will show students different popular paintings (examples: Vincent Van Gogh's ''Sunflowers'', Klimt's ''The Kiss'', Kandinsky's ''Colourful Life'', etc) and I will ask them which one they think best represents the Post-Covid period and why. Finally, I will ask them which colour best represents the
Post-Covid period and why and I will ask them to use that colour in a painting they will create.

TEACHING IN THE POST-COVID ERA

Being a teacher plays a critical role in enabling students' learning, well-being, and progress now more than ever before.
Students are in a state of emergency. Their schools closed abruptly, isolating them from their teachers, peers, and school support networks. And now that the school year is starting, many of
them are wondering what there is at stake for them and what this year will bring.

The COVID-19 era has affected no two children or families in the same way, but they all require the support of the significant adults in their lives, including teachers. We should continue to support our students through this crisis, whether we are teaching remotely, in person, or in a hybrid
format.

WHAT MIGHT KIDS DO IF THEY'RE IN A CRISIS?

We should have our eyes wide open in order to spot any of the following symptoms and behave
accordingly:
Students, in general, may display dramatic changes in school performance, personal cleanliness, weight, sleep routines, mood, disruptive behavior, and/or engagement in activities in response to the crises they have faced in a variety of scenarios.
Students in pre-K and Kindergarten may retreat from friends and routines, appear drowsy, refuse to attend school, participate in activities, or cling to parents. What is more, the teacher may notice thumb-sucking, incontinence, or separation anxiety in a student's conduct.
Students in elementary school may be impatient, aggressive, quiet, or clingy. They may experience nightmares, avoid going to school, and withdraw from hobbies and friends. Concerns about family members or friends may increase in children.
Students in middle and high school may experience sleeping and eating disorders, as well as physical complaints, delinquent behavior, and an increase in disputes. They may have difficulty concentrating or become quickly upset.

WHAT CAN EDUCATORS DO TO HELP?

Here are some ways with which teachers can continue to help learners through the post-COVID 19 era, regardless of the setting: virtual, in-person, or hybrid.

DO's

  • Demonstrate concern by observing changes in behaviour. “You don't seem like yourself lately,” for example. "Is there something wrong going on?" Invite students to connect with you via email, phone call, or mailing a message to their homes with a self-addressed stamped envelope for them to respond.
  • Maintain as much consistency as possible in your routines.
  • Personally contact students/families you're worried about.
  • Listen more than you speak.
  • Give students a chance to speak with you. "Let's chat," for example, is a good invitation.
  • Maintain a calm demeanor when discussing and referring to any unpleasant incidents.
  • Make it clear to students that you are one of the people on hand to protect them and keep them safe.
  • Allow pupils to express their emotions by providing opportunities for them to do so. Encourage children to write or draw about their feelings and experiences.

DON'Ts

  • Assure children that everything will remain the same.
  • Recount Covid-related sad stories.
  • Retell the events in great detail, including any upsetting elements.
  • Assume that if the pupil does not respond to your offer for help, you are not required to assist them.
  • Ask too many questions or press for information.
  • Ignore or downplay the significance of what has occurred.
  • Take control of the discussion.
  • Make last-minute scheduling alterations or assign surprise tasks. At this point, children are trying to readjust to the new norm.

Kids are resilient - they will adjust faster than we think. Let's put on our paper crowns and let children surprise us... once again! •