CCLCS 2020 Update: News from Our LINC, TESL and Childminding Programs

CCLCS TESL, LINC and Admin Staff
CCLCS TESL, LINC and Admin Staff

Wow What a Year!

2020 has been a challenging year. The global pandemic has touched everyone in one way or another, including those of us at CCLCS. Though our classes have gone virtual and enrollment has been steady, it’s not quite the same, and we look forward to a return to face-to-face learning.

We surveyed our staff, from office to teachers to childminders, to gather reflections on the current state of the school. We include their responses in this post. To those who have shared their experience, thanks for the contributions!

We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to reach out to comment on our social media posts or reach out to us via email.

Teachers Get Tech: We’re Zooming, but Missing Our Colleagues and Students!

While teachers and students are getting used to Zoom and Moodle for video chat and e-learning, our classrooms are silent and still and our usually noisy joyful childcare rooms are missing the teachers and children who made our North York and Scarborough campuses lively and fun.

Downtown we have a spartan, minimal staff. Our admin and teacher planning and support activities carry on, but the downtown location is quiet too, with Dawn and colleagues coming in a few times a week.

We really miss our students and the buzz of the halls and classes, and the camaraderie. One of our teachers commented: “We now have access to a lot of interesting online resources that are easy to share. But it doesn’t make up for the energy and support of being together in a classroom, and the hugs!”

LINC Classes: Thoughts from Our Teachers

We heard from a few of our devoted teachers. They are happy about their short commutes but miss the school activity. Of course there is a tech learning curve; it seems we are slowly adapting and improving our digital skills.

Paul wrote: “It’s been different. The first month or so was spent getting used to the new reality. However, I can honestly say that I feel quite comfortable teaching online. In some ways, I actually prefer it! I made sure to set up my home office to make it comfortable and practical for online teaching.”

Ralph offered: “It’s strange to think back about the start of the pandemic, which coincided with our March Break. Little did we know how long it would go on! Hard to believe most of us had never heard of Zoom, and now we rely on it in so many ways.“

Winter has arrived and with it comes extreme snowy cold weather. As one of our LINC teachers commented: “As winter comes on, I think of my students who last year were pushing their strollers through the slush and snow to get to school. They will certainly breathe a little more easily this year.”

They certainly will also have an easier time “getting to school.” And as a bonus, though school is closed, the LINC students are receiving support from our childcare team. More on that after news from our TESL program!

TESL Classes: Teacher Training Carries on with Online Courses and Practicums

Our TESL Program has been maintained through the pandemic though we moved everything online. In spring, after finding our bearings, we got the TESL program rolling smoothly using Moodle and Zoom.

Practicums are essential and usually take place in one of our classrooms. We initially suspended our practicums, but they have resumed online in accordance with TESL Ontario guidelines.

Enrollment was initially a concern but our students trust us and we proudly welcomed a new cohort for each session of 2020. Our lead instructor, Bob Ward, indicated part-time enrollment is stronger than usual. He said, “I guess that reflects people having a little extra time to pursue something like a TESL qualification.”

Would you like to join our students and become a teacher? 2021 represents an ideal time for people to consider taking one of our Teaching English as a Second Language programs. Contact us! We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Childminding: Keeping in Touch and Supporting Parents Via Distance

It’s our mission to support our students through the pandemic and we keep parents engaged by sending them weekly activities segmented by age and developmental group, from infant to toddler to preschooler.

One of our childcare team wrote:
‘‘Although we are in a quarantine situation and there are no children in the childcare, that did not stop our mission regarding children and parents. We are keeping in touch with our parents, updating them during the quarantine time, and offering them activities or articles that help them with their children’s development – their language, cognitive, social, emotional, physical skills, and reflecting multiculturalism as well.’’

We are grateful that our childcare team has supported us through this difficult year. Great work everyone! See you in 2021!

Wrap Up

We have made it through a tough year! And now we look forward to 2021 and new opportunities for learning and engaging with each other. What a strange experience, but we survived and maybe even thrived.

In their survey answer, one of the staff wrote this comment: “We’ve been having weekly staff meetings over Zoom for many months. I remember the first meeting, and how exciting it was to see all those familiar faces! Although some of that excitement has worn off, it’s still great to have virtual contact with each other. I’ve also been impressed with how our students have come on board, often with support from family members and friends.”

Well said, and thank you to all the staff, from the LINC to TESL to office and childminders who shared their feelings and thoughts and guided us through this end of year post.

Thanks for your support in 2020 and good luck everyone in 2021!

Your friends at CCLCS