Is online education profitable for teachers

corona: "The children back to homeschooling? Then the panic rose in me"

I have four children, six, nine, eleven and 13 years old. That means: twice elementary school (grades two and four), once sixth, once eighth grade. This week everyone went to school except for the eighth grade daughter. My husband (who can only work from home to a limited extent) and I work, we are dependent on emergency care.

Here in North Rhine-Westphalia there is an intermediate solution. The pupils are allowed to come up to the seventh grade, only my older daughter had to go to distance class. The 11-year-old school said in a circular that all children are welcome, "feel free to send your child". But in elementary school they strongly advised parents against it. Even though my daughter is in a senior year as a fourth grader.

Schools have deterred many parents and made them feel guilty. I don't think that was a good idea. The infection numbers tell us: School - especially elementary school - is the safest place we have. So instead of going to school, on Tuesday, when the shops were still open, many families were simply in town with their children to do Christmas shopping. In terms of infection, this is of course counterproductive.

With my daughter in fourth, for example, seven out of 26 continue to attend class. All students, whether at home or at school, now work off a weekly schedule. With some, the parents have to help if questions arise, with others, at least the subject teacher is on site. But you can't call that teaching. There is also no new material, just repetition and practice tasks. In addition, in Bielefeld, where we live, the mayor has declared a sports ban. So instead of physical education there is now an extra lesson for the children in which they are in the school yard wearing masks.

In the first lockdown we had a teacher at the high school who hadn't contacted us for 13 weeks. But then we were almost glad that he hadn't contacted me because my son had so many tasks anyway. But of course my son can no longer take this teacher seriously either. Other teachers, on the other hand, whipped through tons of material for fear that the next lockdown would come soon, and that's how it turned out. Especially with my daughter, who does G8.

I do not think that politics would have failed if they had stuck to the course of opening schools in person. In this respect, I am a big fan of Yvonne Gebauer, our minister of education. Against much resistance, she tried to keep the classroom teaching up. What is to be criticized about the NRW government is that it often provided information very late and - like everyone else - did not sufficiently push digitalization in the summer and ensure that teachers receive further training (this can also be done online and by virtue of the right to issue instructions be obliged to do so if necessary), and the Logineo platform runs better. Here partnerships with companies from the business world would certainly make a lot of sense. IT staff must also be employed in schools.

The bigger problem is that many municipalities don't want to. For example, they torpedo air filter systems in Bielefeld, they also prevent digitization.

My daughter is attending a high school with a science focus that has 50 MB internet access. The city can't do it with the fiber optic network, although a line practically runs in front of the school. The teachers cannot do video conferences from the school, the network cannot do that. Perhaps it would be possible from your private connection at home, but how should that work if the teachers have to be present in class time and again, either in emergency care or in the final classes. So you can't go home quickly in between to give a digital lesson in lower school and then go back to school for the older ones? The school caretaker has called on parents to dig a symbolic canal to the main street during the Christmas holidays to show that it is possible.

Schools should reopen on January 11th, until then we need clear criteria as to when schools should be and when they are open. So far there has only been talk of having to look at the numbers after Christmas. Which numbers these should be is completely unclear. But we need a fixed step-by-step plan that the federal states and municipalities must adhere to. I am worried that it will continue like this with the lockdown. I can already see myself working under the Christmas tree. As an initiative, we considered whether we should then sue.

The socially weaker students disappear from the radar in lockdown. The school is aware of this, but they also have no chance of doing it any other way. Many teachers are very committed, others do little or nothing. As the school management, I would like to see what the teachers are doing there on a weekly basis. But the school administrators are probably also overwhelmed.

Nicole Reese