Friday, 10 July 2009

Helping ill students who are off school to stay up-to-date

In the last few weeks many students have come down with bouts of mumps and swine flu. Dealing with students who are out of the classroom is difficult and requires careful preparation. Over the years I've had a number of students out of lesson for long-term illnesses such as liver damage or badly broken limbs.

On these occasions I send packages of work via the Head of Year. Packages includes collections of worksheets or a list of tasks to choose from. I develop these packs along with the Scheme of Work as an 'Emergency Measure' to be used if I am off for a long period of time (or, it turned out, for unexpected absences). As sick students receive lots of work from teachers I always put an upbeat message from the class attached to the top of the work. If I were ill I know I'd be more pleased to receive a personal message than a bunch of impersonal worksheets.

Building on these ideas, I recently saw a colleague successfully had a student join his lesson via Skype even though this student was lying in hospital with his leg in pins! Another friend, who teaches French, had her students complete 'Get Well Soon Cards' using all French language and sent them along to their missing friend. In both cases the sick student felt cared for, included and was still learning. Brilliant.