Updated: Sep 20, 2020
It's been a while since I last posted a blog! This blog is about a new book called Lady P's First Day. But before I tell you about the book, I want to share a little of my experience over the last few months as it closely relates to the message of the book.
It's been really tough since the coronavirus pandemic started, and it looks like it'll be here for quite some time! I had difficulty keeping a routine and trying to juggle lessons as well as my own writing. I do private English tutoring, so I have lots of planning to do during the week. We've completely switched from face-to-face to virtual online lessons! To be honest, it takes more time and effort to prepare online lessons compared to face-to-face lessons! There is so much more we need to consider and we often need to plan extra activities as well, to keep the students engaged. I think we actually teach and learn more through this virtual mode. I am teaching the students more self-learning skills and strategies than ever before, such as how to use a dictionary, how to search for answers, and how to do research on their own when they can't talk to their teachers face-to-face. There is a lot more responsibility on the students themselves to learn. I didn't want them to feel lost and stop learning just because they weren't able to speak to a teacher. In a way, the coronavirus pandemic has given us an opportunity to teach our students even more than we ever did before! We are also extremely lucky to be living in the 21st Century with all this amazing technology, and being able to conduct lessons online, as well as have access to so much information with the click of a button! I also managed to learn through online tutorials and Zoom calls in the last few months! There is also less time spent on classroom management. We can get started straight away or send a lot of materials to students beforehand to prepare for the lessons. When I read this book, it helped me to reflect on how much my teaching has changed for the better rather than feeling defeated, and even a little depressed focusing on the negative side of this situation.
'Lady P's First Day' by Robert F. DeFinis, looks into the very real and long-lasting effects of the pandemic, especially on education. The story really resonated with me as a former primary school teacher, and now as a private tutor because it describes exactly what schools, teachers and students are feeling and experiencing. The book brings a positive message that learning can occur anywhere and anytime - not just in the classroom - and encourages everyone to keep learning no matter what happens, wherever they are!
As the story begins, Lady P is having trouble falling asleep because she is nervous and excited about starting her first day of kindergarten the next day. When the day finally arrives and she heads into school with her big brother, they hear an announcement that school is cancelled due to the virus outbreak! The principal announces that all their classes will be held virtually. At first, Lady P is worried and rather disappointed that she won't get to meet her teachers or make new friends. She wonders if she will ever get to go to school. But her father reassures her, saying, "School is more than a building, teachers and classmates. School is about learning." We definitely need to remind all kids, and even adults, that learning does not end when you leave school. We learn anywhere and anytime! Sometimes it starts in one place and ends in another! This is such an important message for kids, as well as parents and teachers! They need to be aware of how learning occurs and that there are many different ways to learn as well. It also reinforces the importance of lifelong learning and how we can be more self-directed in our own learning rather than relying on teachers to feed us information. We need to acquire lifelong learning skills to succeed in life! The book looks at how this life-changing global pandemic has completely shifted the way we learn, teach and view education. It is quite amazing to see how everyone all over the world was able to change and adapt to cope with this sudden and unexpected event.
The world will never be the same again and we need to move forward with a new perspective on how teaching and learning can be improved for future generations for the better; find ways to continue learning no matter what is happening around us. Even a global pandemic cannot stop anyone from learning!
I think this book is probably more important for parents and teachers to read and to share the message with their kids, as the language and concepts may not be easily understood by kindergarten-age children, which is the age of the Lady P character in the story. I highly recommend this book for parents to read together with their kids, especially during this uncertain period, to prepare them for the journey ahead. The core message that learning can happen anywhere, and that school is more than a building is definitely one we all need to be reminded of, especially during these times.
You can find out more about the author at www.drdefinis.com
Get the book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/33Lfe2L