Makayla is a class act

Makayla is a class act
Brendan Rees

When Victoria entered lockdown 5.0 last month many families may have fretted, but for prep teacher Makayla Bulte remote teaching is just like “riding a bike”.

“Sure, there have been a few bumps along the way,” the second-year teacher at South Melbourne Primary School said, but added, “it is a skill you do not forget”.

With a clear timetable, morning class meetings, and four live lessons, Ms Bulte said kids were able to keep a routine “with minimal disruptions”, with the highlight of her job being the “joy and excitement the students have each day for learning”.

She said activities such as playing hide-and-seek and having treasure hunts at home have made remote learning fun and engaging.

“Our current favourite is going on adventures to space and the ocean for lessons. Nothing beats putting on your swimming cap and goggles to dive into the ocean for our literacy lessons,” she said.

While a computer screen is no match for face-to-face learning, she said remote learning had provided an insight into their student’s home lives.

“Remote learning has provided a range of welcomed challenges that has allowed our school community to grow and develop in ways we never thought possible,” she said.

“It has allowed for further connections to be built, whether that is their younger brother or sister joining us for lessons, parents seeing what happens in the classroom, or families sharing their weekend adventures with the class.”

While Ms Bulte never expected to begin her teaching career in lockdowns after completing a Bachelor of Primary Education specialising in health at Deakin University, she has taken the challenges of the past 18 months all in her stride after the pandemic upended nearly every aspect of education.

“I think anyone in our community would agree that isolation has been a rollercoaster,” she said, but added she and many other community members had been blessed to have the support of family and friends who had dropped off care packages and been in regular contact.

The fifth lockdown was also particularly challenging for South Melbourne Primary School after it was identified as a COVID-19 exposure site, with the school community requiring to undergo 14 days of quarantine.

But there were smiles all around and elation when the kids streamed through the school gates on August 2 upon their return, with Ms Bulte saying many students “had a countdown to the big day” and their “uniforms ready to go” •

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