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Catherine Newton (ESP teacher at Campus des Nations)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi, 20 mai 2020
Updated: mercredi, 20 mai 2020
Catherine Newton

What do you teach and how long have you been at Ecolint?
I have been working in the ESP at Campus des Nations since the school opened in 2005, and in the role of Lead Teacher of the Post-16 ESP since 2012. We currently have fifteen students from year nine to year thirteen in our programme.

What has been your greatest challenge as an ESP teacher, in facing the coronavirus pandemic?
My main concern has been the safety and well-being of our students as well as ensuring that the staff in the team are comfortable and confident with the new working conditions. Many of our students find change difficult, so this has certainly tested their ability to cope in different situations and learning environments. They have, however, managed remarkably well and they, like us, have developed new skills and ways of working. We look upon our students as part of the Post-16 ESP family, so what has been difficult for us as a team is having three year thirteen students complete their schooling abruptly. This year we have not had the possibility to prepare them well for this transition and complete the course of life skills and preparation for their next steps that we usually do. 

What have you learned during this time?
I have seen that young people with additional learning needs can adapt to new situations surprisingly well and they have remained positive and cheerful throughout. I have learned the importance of personal connection and how much I have missed the students and colleagues, it’s just not the same by Google Hangouts! 

How do you think Covid will change our education system, specifically for ESP programmes?
We have all seen the importance of interactions and relationships during this time, and where these have not been able to take place in person, we have needed to make sure that we connect in other ways. The strength of the ESP teams are not only our personal connections with the students and families, but also our flexibility and creativity and having the ability to adapt lessons according to each student's need.

Any words of wisdom as schools slowly start up again? 
Kindness is the first word that comes to mind and a deep compassion for our fellow humans. We have seen that, as communities, we have developed a realisation that we must watch out for and nurture our most vulnerable citizens. In school we hope that all students and staff retain this spirit of looking out for their classmates and colleagues. We have also seen the benefits to our environment of “having a little rest”, therefore we should ensure that the more positive side-effects of this terrible virus are maintained.

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