Tooting & Mitcham react to ‘virtual learning’

Tutor, Kelly reflects on the past few weeks of virtual learning with her students at Tooting & Mitcham

On Monday 23rd March as I set up my laptop for my first ever Zoom lesson with the First Year group at Tooting & Mitcham, I felt a sense of pure panic. ‘How will the boys deal with this?’ ‘Will they know how to use Zoom?’ ‘Will I be able to engage them through a screen’ ‘Will they even turn up?!’.

I logged onto the lesson at 9.55am and waited… as the time in the bottom corner ticked onto 9.59am the panic increased until it turned to 10.00am and I was a nervous wreck with my head in my hands! I then heard a ‘ping’, followed by another, and another and another, until I had a long list of students’ names to Admit to the lesson. As they entered, their screens lit up on mine – full of smiles, laughter and the usual classroom chatter – I soon realised that my concerns were not confirmed. My full group of 10 (we split our 30 strong class into 3 groups) were there in force, ready with their pen and paper and asking ‘Miss, what we doing today?’. We worked our way through our lesson as we would on site, with engaging delivery, Q&A and open class. As we came to the end of our time, I had forgotten all my concerns and was excited to see them the following day. ‘See ya later Miss’ each student shouted as they each logged out raring to go with their new assignment.

We are now nearing the end of our 4th week online and attendance and engagement is excellent.  Students said the following;

‘My Online Learning Experience is very new to me but for me it’s no different to being in class in Tooting! In fact I think that the students pay attention more when at home, the teachers are very clear and understanding and want you to go far. I know this because when we don’t understand work we will get a private online session with them which has helped a lot with me in one of my units. The only difficulty is internet service sometimes. Overall I’ll say it’s been a very good experience to be honest, but I can’t wait to get back to Tooting!’
AS – Tooting & Mitcham Student

‘My current experience with online learning has been great. I think it is very flexible and allows the student to work wherever there is WiFi. This gives us as students much more independence and freedom in completing assignments and I think that this is vital. Looking forward to getting back onsite though.’
RC – Tooting & Mitcham Student

‘I personally enjoy online learning as it is very flexible and I can complete work around my own time rather than at a set schedule e.g going into school. So far its been good.’
SCA – Tooting & Mitcham Student

The boys have taken complete control of their learning showing great maturity and a desire to get things done.  I am so proud of the resilience, focus and determination the boys have shown through the unprecedented times we have found ourselves in. They have set the bar high, which is a reflection of them as our young people.