Learning English in the time of Covid 19: A Challenge for teachers and students. Our Experience.

We are going through difficult times worldwide, so we all know about the advance of COVID-19. It has really affected everyday life of our students and ours that is why as English Department we are concerned, but at the same time very committed maintaining and providing not only knowledge but also support.
Nobody said that it would be easy to have changed classrooms for notebooks, students and colleagues for screens, but we have had to adapt to this new life, which seeks to keep us safe from this virus, which has turned out to be very aggressive to the world. Technology has helped us to be in contact with the entire educational community many hours a day. Consequently, we have been learning on the spot and we have made such a great effort to continue giving our lessons through various technological platforms, taking this challenge with lots of encouragement, because our students are the ones who need us.
As English department, we are constantly looking for and carrying out various activities so that students can boost language learning and put into practice everything they have been taught. It has also been a great challenge to adapt, all of a sudden, to leave classrooms and taking our classes via Zoom, Meet, among other technological resources. Since not being able to be together in a physical place since we were taken out of our environment: laughter, questions, calls for attention, silly mistakes, lost books, permission denied, fun and boredom; things both teachers and students miss.
Despite the difficulties we are facing, our students have reflected on everything we are going through, that is why we will share some of these reflections written by them anonymously:
• “Having classes has made it a little easier to cope with because it gives us a routine, a purpose, it helps us to get out of bed and do stuff. Even when I´m not learning as much as in regular classes, I still learn something and that is a big part of my life because I believe that knowledge is what keeps us alive and breathing. In addition, I complain a lot about this, but I´m thankful because I know that not everyone has the chance to have as many classes a day as we do or have any classes at all and I know deep down that everyone is doing their best.” ( Secondary Student)
• “Talking about the online classes, I think that the school is doing a good job at keeping the classes in a remote way. Education is important and necessary, in my situation, I only have two years left to graduate so I need to keep the rhythm of my education and absorb the maximum of information I can during classes.” ( Secondary Student)
• “This led us all discover a new way of learning, where online classes have been the necessary support to continue with our process of acquiring knowledge and it has also become a new way of communicating. This time has not been easy, but thanks to this situation, I`ve learnt to gain patience and live a deep reflection period. Being connected helped me to project and see what the future holds for us, how we can face the new challenges of our life, thinking that most of our life will be based on the online connection that we have today.” ( Secondary Student)
• ”For me personally, lessons at school will always be better because, I don’t really like computers and I´m tired of being in front of it all day”. (First grade/secondary student)
• “FROM my point of view, the online lessons are better for me because NOW it is SAFER to stay at home than going to school and also we are less likely to get infected. “ (First grade /secondary student)

Teaching has never been an easy task. We were taught different methodologies and contents. Yet, suddenly we were moved from our comfort zone. From one day to another teachers and students were in front of a computer, having no other possibility that getting used to a new way of teaching on one hand, and a new way of learning on the other. In the end this new world we are part of now has made us look for more motivating and meaningful lessons, and has made us be aware that we need to monitor our students even before teaching since emotional support has become relevant to keep our children learning
Looking backwards, we can assume it was not an easy task. This could not have been possible without our students’ commitment and their families support. We would like to thank each of our students for their responsibility to attend online lessons, participate and keep on working on these hard days. In the end, we have understood that the essential attitude to make things work is collaboration. Complaining, blaming others, getting mad at things have become useless. That is why we want to acknowledge our students’ enthusiasm, hard work and optimism in the face of these challenging times.