When I heard about the COVID-19 case in our country, I became paranoid. I’m scared of getting sick. I am a foundation phase educator at Streetlight Schools in Jeppestown, which partners with Play Africa. I love all the kids in the class and we practice good hygiene at school. After hearing about this case, I really insisted on kids using sanitizers regularly.
After the early closure announcement from the President, for me it was okay. When schooling was suspended, we had to start preparing study packs for our learners within 24 hours, which came with its own challenges that we are still navigating through. Most institutions have gone digital in reaching their clients. But not all their clients, like parents and learners, have been able to go digital. The work content we provide digitally isn’t always accessible for other parents. All schools have different dynamics. Some families do not have access to smart devices and they cannot access any of the content. Even for educators who are parents, like myself, teaching and working from home is not easy. I’m on lockdown in Naturena, Johannesburg, with my husband and three sons. So in addition to being an educator, I’m also a mother. I have received work from my sons’ school and I have to supervise and assist.
I took it upon myself to learn how to use Zoom because honestly we really don’t know how long this situation is going to take until we are safe. I’m conducting Zoom video calls with my learners once a week. It is hard for parents who don’t have data or smart devices to join in, but I want to make a difference whether I reach 4 or 40 kids. It is amazing seeing their faces because I miss them so much. Connecting with them is a social outing for me.
I’m looking forward to the end of this crisis. I worry about the children we provide meals for. For some, these are the only meals they will have for the day. I worry about schools not being able to meet their financial obligations. There are a lot of parents that really live from hand to mouth and now that they cannot work, they can’t afford to provide for their families, let alone honour their financial obligation to the schools. Everyone is understandably stretched at this time. Let us just do the best we can with what we have right now.
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