Everything you need to know about distance learning at Hamilton International School
8 April 2020| Last updated on 14 April 2020
Since March, schools, nurseries and universities across the country have been suspended.
As part of Qatar's efforts and measures taken to reduce the spread of the novel Coronavirus in the country, educational establishments have been closed until further notice.
The decision taken by the country's authorities have left many parents balancing working from home with helping their children's distance learning. Thankfully, schools like Hamilton International School have implemented e-learning for their pupils, to help ensure continuity in their learning for the remainder of the academic year.
To shed light on how distance learning is being embraced by the Doha-based school, KG1 Class Teacher, Niamh Kuncaitis, shares a personal account of how she, the school, their students, and their students' parents are embracing this new virtual way of education.
"Sitting here in my classroom all alone as I prepare for tomorrow’s learning, I’m wondering what is happening in the world", Niamh begins. New to expatriate life in Doha, the KG1 Class Teacher had different expectations of living and teaching here.
"Never did I expect my first year of international teaching to end up with me teaching to an empty classroom. Being thousands of miles away from my family has made me shed a few tears but missing all my little KG1 studentss breaks my heart even more. I now long to see (virtually) the smiling faces that are eagerly waiting to learn something amazing that day."
To help ensure continuity in their students' education, schools like Hamilton International School have worked hard to implement e-learning, rapidly equipping their staff and pupils with what they need.
"This is certainly the most eventful year in my teaching career ", Niamh shares. "I am always developing myself as a teacher and distance learning has taught me to grow more creatively, be adaptable, and IT literate.
"I have been creating daily videos and resources for the wide range of abilities in my class, so that I can continue to support their amazing learning when I’m not physically present."
Parents in Qatar and worldwide have had their (already hectic) routines mixed-up with the addition of e-learning for their little ones, and teachers like Niamh and the team at Hamilton International School recognise this.
"I cannot commend enough, the efforts of most of the parents as they have been incredibly supportive with distance learning", she explains but there has been some concerns. "Inevitably, as with all schools, at times it has been frustrating as some families opt not to engage in the distance learning and I can’t help to worry about their little learners’ progress."
"Reflecting on the first day of school I have almost forgotten the vast learning journey my confident, independent, empathetic and incredible students have travelled. Together we have learned to work collaboratively, to show resilience in times of adversity and to have respect for those in our community.
"My KG1s have become thoughtful, helpful and honest members of our school community and I know that during their distance learning their progress will be different."
As we all know, these are uncertain times for many, as we adapt our lives and routines to accommodate the hurdles the COVID-19 pandemic have thrown our way.
"For me personally, I would want nothing more than to wake up tomorrow, arrive to the classroom and get ready to welcome my students with open arms", Niamh shares. "In the meantime, lets maintain our positive outlook and work through this together, putting learning at the forefront.
"After all teaching is not just a job, it is a lifelong vocation. Me, along with my fellow teachers around the world, are responsible for teaching the future generation of leaders, and it is not something we take lightly. Let’s create the best generation society has seen!"