Dear readers of the PILGRIM newsletter,
We reach you at a time when schools are resuming their operations after the fall lockdown (CORONA 2020).
For students of compulsory school age, daily, collaborative learning is now back in the schools under the direct guidance of their teachers. For high school students, it still means waiting for their return to schools; further perseverance and responsibility are required in terms of independent learning for 14-19 year olds and the organization of distance learning by their teachers.
Daily news such as the closing of tourism businesses in Austria by January 2021, reduced family gatherings at Christmas 2020, reduced opportunities in winter sports, lack of joint celebrations such as Advent caroling and Christmas parties, etc. are perceived via the media also by the students and arouse inner restlessness not only among adults.
In this special time, it is important to take the insecurity that exists at the moment away from the children and young people, which obviously makes extreme demands on politics and the economy. Therefore, educators in particular are called upon to address the children’s concerns with the school children parallel to the lessons, to discuss the current events with them under the difficult conditions of the year 2020 and to give them security at school or also via homeschooling.
As experts in the classroom, lend your ear to students when there are learning problems or difficult family situations. Be patient and forgiving when some learning is difficult to achieve. Explain the reasons for current freedom restrictions, the importance of precautions, and current health projects with regard to the entire population. With the help of your school directorate, give assistance to all families in terms of technical equipment in the field of IT or even care in schools in the afternoon according to the needs. Take away the doubts and encourage the children and young people!
The time ahead can still be difficult into the summer. This makes it all the more important to set positive activities for students despite Corona. This year, Advent is an opportunity for schools to celebrate it in silence and contemplation. Consideration and silence are part of everyday school life, without crowds in the corridors during breaks. A reflective Advent with morning thoughts by the Advent wreath, with good deeds and with concentrated learning will surely succeed. Parents trust schools as never before; teachers are creative and innovative about classroom options. For example, if you can’t visit the nursing home now and sing Christmas carols, you can send letters of joy or drawings to decorate there; ways to reach disadvantaged people are many.
To treat people and their health well (current health measures), to protect the earth as a habitat (forest fires in South America), to preserve animals and plants are tasks of all schools, especially of PILGRIM schools. Ecological, economic and social issues are part of the lessons. Pupils thus take responsibility for the world.
Thus, we thank you for all your work in schools, for your MIT-work in the world, for the joint implementation of good deeds in schools. Despite the difficult times, we wish all the best for your teaching around the Christmas season! May many ideas for spring and summer 2021 arise together with the students in the now so quiet season.
Planning together strengthens and gives hope for the future.
With best wishes to all PILGRIM schools as well as to the readers of the PILGRIM newsletter and
with the request to the directorates to forward the newsletter to the entire staff.
Mag.a Dr.in Herta Ucsnik, Director of PILGRIM