By Dr. Peter Bateman, AISA Executive Director
The end of the academic school year is normally a time of much excitement; classrooms, school halls, sports fields and playgrounds abuzz with enthusiasm; the celebration of achievements and happy anticipation of holidays; which for many include a return to their home country. This year, things are different; there will be no graduation or reward ceremonies at our school campuses, no proms, and end-of-year class parties; no big hugs or high fives. However, the great irony is, that this year, the sense of community, togetherness, support and empathy is greater than ever before!
It is this common challenge that has reinforced the strong connections among AISA school leaders, educators, counsellors, students, parents and communities so effectively. Perhaps it is the absence of physical connections that have heightened our appreciation of human connections. Whatever the reason, this sense of support is increasingly evident amongst the AISA community; members and associates are sharing openly and participating in innovative online initiatives for the collective improvement of international education. This is being done with compassion and empathy for what we as educators and our students are experiencing; sadness about missed opportunities and our usual social experiences at school, and uncertainty about what the future will look like are top of mind. We must be sure that these are not allowed to compromise our wellbeing.
AISA has taken the lead in so many critical areas during this time, but it is the two above that I want to highlight; the unprecedented level of community and support, and the importance of child protection and community wellbeing.
Our AISA COVID-19 Support Portal continues to provide valuable news, information and resources, and we are hosting a large number of webinars and discussion forums on crucial topics. These include many focused on child protection and wellbeing such as our AISA Wellbeing Wednesday Webinar Sessions and related articles, including Chanel Worsteling’s article Child Safety Online – Collaboration, Communication.
We are also very proud to announce that we have launched our Virtual Schools Collaborative, that combines all the resources we can muster to support our schools that may well need to start next year still teaching and learning online. The first webinar to introduce this support takes place on 19 May 2020; Supporting Online Learning into the Next School Year.
The AISA board and team are enthused by the positive feedback received on the initiatives we have put in place and are forever appreciative for the support and collaborative spirit of our school and associates members. As we wind down this academic year, I am reminded of Charles Darwin’s wisdom; “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Stay Well and Stay Connected.