The midterm exams have started here at FGS. We have only been back at school for about one month but everyone has worked really hard. During the lockdown period we spent a lot of time on self-study assignments for the junior high school students and online lessons for the high school students. It wasn’t perfect but it worked well because everyone worked together to overcome problems that came up. It’s certainly times like this that make me happy I’m part of the Quaker community.
At the start of the lockdown I joined a video conference with about 50 Australian Quakers to learn how to use video conferencing systems to connect with students. We learned about the different ways to use that platform as a way to teach classes. I also had daily video contact with many different FGS teachers, and teacher friends who teach in different schools or universities around Tokyo. We all worked together to see if it would be possible to use video platforms for live lessons with our students. It was fun to connect with so many different people and in the end I was able to use such systems to teach all my high school classes. Of course, being together face to face is so much better, but the online classes allowed us to be in touch and to support each other in this uncertain time as well as start our studies.
The junior high school students completed challenges which ranged from reflective writings to cooking challenges. This gave them the opportunity to do independent study, feel a sense of discovery with their studies and help their parents while practicing a life skill. It wasn’t an easy time for anyone but I was happy to have allowed my students the chance to take a breath and see the good around them — a safe place to be during the lockdown, nutritious food, the support of friends and teachers through online platforms.
There’s still a lot of risk and uncertainty out there so be sure to stay safe.