“I’m at the bottom of the tank. My son has 25 worksheets or exercises to complete this week. Here it is in the same file since class…” “My child’s teacher said that school will probably start again on April 27th and that there will be an assessment on the 27th or 28th…” “Some imagine that is enough , to convey things to us that we will pull off a superhero cape and become teachers with the snap of our fingers. In addition to our work…”
Over the past few days, comments from angry or frustrated parents have multiplied on the Enseignants Romands COVID-19 Facebook page. The page, which has more than 5,600 members, mainly allows teachers to exchange any tips about textbooks, easy crafts to do at home, making video capsules or organizing teleconferences.
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This Facebook page is a joyful collection that testifies to the great enthusiasm and ingenuity of many teachers. Worried, some teachers see it as “general chaos”. “Many very – too – quickly sought solutions for absolute go to school as usual from day one, testified a teacher from Vaud. This was when no official tool existed and there was no known and understood way of coordinating things.
Families quickly found themselves overwhelmed. “Parents who have several children have been given a lot of work, ways of doing things, channels of communication so different and varied that they are impossible to manage,” notes this same teacher.
An “appeal for calm” is launched.
The President of the Union of Roman Teachers (SER), Samuel Rohrbach from Jura admits that the “feedback from the field” is confusing despite the strong commitment of all. He listed the problems: “Servers are overloaded, some children’s parents are working remotely and can’t follow up, too many students don’t have access to computer equipment, computers or printers.” of school and to adapt the speed of the system”. And to paraphrase this recommendation: “We need to concentrate on the really essential points of the program and the consolidation of achievements.”
In the cantons, several trade unions have already issued a “call for calm”, to use the title of a recent press release from the Society of Secondary Education Teachers (SVMS). These calls are not only coming from the teaching world. Socialist Grégory Jaquet, deputy of the Grand Council of Neuchatel, was one of the first to publicly position himself. “We know it’s going to be a long time and we’re going to be closed, companies are going to melt down, workers are going to rust out, I suggest we stop pretending that parents can completely replace the school in times of an acute crisis,” he wrote on March 19 on social networks.
“My position was more that of a father of three children than a politician,” explains Gregory Jacquet today. The socialist is particularly worried about the “gap that is being created every day” between children who are lucky enough to have parents who fight for them and those who have learning difficulties or live in troubled families.»
In recent days, faced with all these concerns, the authorities have begun to react. The Department of Education, Youth and Culture (DFJC) of the canton of Vaud announced on Tuesday a series of measures to adapt home education. “We need to reduce the pressure on families and take care of the relationship with parents over time,” insists State Councilor Cesla Amarel. If the socialist rejects the criticism of the “generalized chaos” in the first days, she recognizes “a certain hesitation”. “In one night, we sent more than 100,000 students home,” she recalls.
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Among the measures taken, the DFJC decided to prohibit any assessment during detention. The Cantonal Reference Tests (ECRs) are cancelled. Promotion and orientation criteria will be adjusted. The program will also be adapted. “We don’t have the means to teach new subjects,” says Giancarlo Valcheschini, general director of compulsory education in Vaud, which is why he is calling on teachers to support the revisions.
For its part, Neuchatel was one of the first cantons to adopt directives in this direction, in particular by limiting the number of working hours per day: one hour in the 1st cycle (1st-4th), two hours in the 2nd cycle (5th-8th) and three hours in the 3rd cycle (9th-11th).
“We started too hard, admits State Councilor Monika Maire-Hefti, in charge of the Ministry of Education and Family. But faced with a situation we had never experienced before, we didn’t have the necessary perspective. Like his colleague from Vaux, the socialist insisted on the need to reduce the pressure on teachers, children and their families: “Three quarters of the school year is over, during this period of detention we must focus on revisions and consolidation of achievements. We will catch up after the crisis is over.”
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