Imagine the sheer joy on a young person’s face when they grasp a concept, even amidst challenging circumstances. Our dedicated teachers witness this magical moment every day, lighting up the lives of students who can’t physically attend school. With the privilege of working with 350+ schools supporting sick kids from Kindergarten to Year 12, we’ve gained valuable insights that can make a real difference in these students’ lives.
Today, we explore how teachers and school leaders can unlock inclusivity for these students who yearn to learn alongside their peers and enjoy moments of laughter with friends.
It’s an enormous task but a huge privilege as a teacher to be able to have influence and feel like you’ve helped educate kids… You can look at it as a burden… Or you can look at it as an absolutely life changing opportunity for the kids.
Centring on Inclusivity: The school’s leadership and support staff play a vital role, working tirelessly to support students beyond just academic lessons and grades. They provide essential resources, tools and guidance to keep sick kids connected to learning and wellbeing.
Committing to Care: Understanding that students with illnesses are covered by the Disability Standards for Education (DSE) goes beyond a legal requirement; it paves the way for action. Activation of DSE adjustments through individual learning plans (ILPs) means supporting the student when and where it matters most.
Empowering with Technology: Providing telepresence technology to connect sick and absent students to classes isn’t just about audio-visual innovations, it’s about leveraging human potential in classrooms for effective relationships and inclusivity in real time.
Upholding Teacher Wellbeing: Supporting sick students is vital, and equally important is ensuring teachers’ wellbeing; this includes fostering knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and accessing adequate funding for additional assistance and resourcing.
Individualised Support: Connecting a sick student back to their class demands creativity and flexibility. Teachers engage in one-on-one sessions and collaborate with support staff to address learning gaps and maintain the integrity of the student-teacher relationship.
Diverse Approaches: Meeting the needs of sick students who can’t be physically present requires the use of various tools, resources, and approaches, such as sharing class material in advance or providing feedback through suitable platforms.
Leveraging Digital Learning: The rise of digital and remote learning options has been a game-changer, providing teachers with effective communication methods to track students’ progress and even wellbeing.
Collaborating With Carers: Supporting sick students becomes more effective when teachers actively and consistently communicate with parents. This collaboration facilitates tailored arrangements and idea sharing to meet the student’s individual learning needs.
Flexibility and Adaptability: Success in this often complex area hinges on everyone involved being flexible and adaptable, particularly when facing challenges, issues, or unexpected events.
Lifelines of Connection: The options and opportunities for connecting with sick and absent students serve as education first-aid, easing the teacher’s workload and fostering inclusion within the regular classroom setting without requiring duplication or separate one-on-one lessons.
Targeted Impact: Data collected through MissingSchool’s technology service since 2017 paints a powerful picture. Teachers find the process of using telepresence connections efficient and feel happy, uplifted, and relieved to see their sick students attend class, laugh with peers, and enjoy each other’s company, even as students face tough circumstances.
Streamlined Teaching: Real-time connections enable teachers to “teach once” without repetition or catch-up, driving positive change throughout the school and unlocking their professional expertise as educators.
Unlocking inclusivity for sick students not only shapes their futures but enriches the lives of teachers and the entire school community. By embracing commitment, technology, and a culture of service, schools create an environment where sick students can thrive and continue their educational journey, regardless of their circumstances. Together, let’s empower sick kids to learn, grow, and make their mark on the world.
Our connection to our community is vital, and it would be impossible for us to stay the course without the incredible support of schools and teachers at the frontline.
There are many ways to help:
- follow along and cheer us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- share this newsletter with your family, friends, or colleagues so we can reach more sick kids, and
- donate towards getting a seriously sick child back into their classroom.
Every action moves us closer to the finish line: a world where every sick child is seen and heard.
Let’s keep connecting.