As regular readers will be aware, Friday mornings in UAE are devoted to relaxation and matters spiritual, and are the equivalent to a Sunday elsewhere in the World. For a number of years I have been corralling 9 and 10 year olds on the finer points of their First Holy Communion. As one might imagine, this can occasionally be quite a challenge as, even at the best of times, engaging the attention of 30+ students on the first day of a weekend at the end of a busy school week is far from straight forward.
Lessons were abruptly halted at the start of lockdown in March and for the most part the Churches have either been closed or operating very limited services.
Lessons recommenced at the start of October on-line. My work day is very much centred around teams meetings and zoom. However, either someone is paying for the benefit of my presence on the call or it is a broadcast to my colleagues so there is a fairly strong incentive on participants to fully engage.
For my Friday on line sessions the onus is very much on me to entertain the students and while I am very keen to avoid “death by PowerPoint”it is actually very challenging to get through all the material and still keep the students engaged.
Today went pretty well - although it is always difficult to tell when communication is virtual and one of the things I always enjoyed in face to face lessons was the interaction with the class which is difficult to reproduce online. The use of the “chat box” at least gives some indication that people are listening but I have no doubt that I have some way to go before striking a better balance between communication, engagement and content.