ISY Elementary School Faculty Blog

A Tough Week

Mike Simpson

March 12, 2021

I consider myself to be a pretty positive person who can see a bright side to most situations. 

This has been a tough year before it even began but each week something positive has happened for me to write about in this blog. So I think it is fair to say that it has been a particularly tough week if I am googling ‘positive things about 2020’ on a Wednesday evening in 2021 for ideas to write about!

I found something positive in an article that reminded me that ‘the pandemic has unintentionally furthered children’s independence.’ 

Developing student agency and self-efficacy (independence) is a key goal that we had identified before the pandemic in developing students who can adapt and contribute to an uncertain or unknown future. I agree that teaching and learning online has required students to be more independent. In fact, I think I have already written about it in this blog. 

I already knew that greater student agency and self-efficacy will be one positive from this year and I have seen multiple examples of this in our students this week. But over the last few  weeks, there have been more things to endure than to celebrate for many of us. 

The reality of the current situation can make finding the bright side difficult. But research shows that in difficult times, it is important for our mental health to allow ourselves to acknowledge that times are difficult and to feel rather than suppress negative emotions. Now, of course, teachers and parents need to be careful to regulate these emotions in the company of children but my own children know that this year has been difficult for me. I think that knowing this allows them to feel better about finding this year difficult themselves and tells them that we are all struggling through it together.

I think that our community’s sense of togetherness as we struggle through the year is just as important as focusing on the positive things that will come out of it. We are experiencing both the good and the bad together and always more of one than the other at any given time. I have found this week a tough one but I know that we all did and we are stronger for getting to the end of it.


While you are in the middle of reimagining teaching and learning, I was wondering if you would like to share your thoughts or experiences. No pressure but if you have any videos or articles that have caught your attention, I’d love to include them in this faculty blog. And if any of you like to write or want to give it a go, I’d love to help you get your ideas out to people who would appreciate them. Just let me know if you would like to share anything.

Here is an article which Mick shared with ISY All which explains the difference between toxic positivity and tragic optimism.

And here is an article written by Wyatt that was published in TIE Online.

Students Leaving Yangon

As you will no doubt know from this week, we are having more students planning to leave Yangon in the next week or so. 

If you become aware of a student who is planning to leave, please email Patty, Nimmi, and I and we will follow up with the parents. Please email us even if you have just heard this from the student and you are unsure if this is true.

Students continuing with synchronous learning:

Some of these students will continue with synchronous learning. In these cases, the students will obviously remain enrolled in all school programs and platforms and will Zoom into synchronous classrooms. I will talk directly with any families who think they might want an asynchronous option. Please direct any parents to me if they would like to talk to you about this option. 

These students will be asked to return their Chromebook or iPads and library books before they leave Yangon.

Students withdrawing from ISY:

Students who are withdrawing from ISY are obviously no longer our responsibility from their date of withdrawal. These students will no longer be attending Zoom classes and teachers will no longer be providing feedback on their learning. These students will be removed from Powerschool.

However, given the extraordinary circumstances under which these families are leaving, we will keep them enrolled in our Seesaw and Google Classroom platforms until the end of the year. We will also keep them on other platforms such as RazKids. This will allow them to access learning should they wish to. This work is not for teachers to give feedback on and assess. We are unable to disable the chat and messaging functions of Seesaw and Google Classroom for individual students. We hope that this is not a distraction and if this becomes an issue with a withdrawn student, please let me know and I will reach out to the parents. 

These students will be asked to return their Chromebook or iPads and library books before they leave Yangon.


March 15-19

There will be no Transitional Days this week. We will be sticking to the same specialist schedule that we used last week. The campus remains open for teachers to work from their classrooms.

We would all prefer to be teaching and learning on campus, especially for our youngest students, but this was again the sensible decision to ensure the safety and respect the needs of our local community this week.

As always, let me know if you have any questions and if any parents have any questions please feel free to direct them to me


If you have any student (or students) that you would like me to recognise for living the ISY Attributes send me an email with a sentence about why they are to be recognised and a time that I could come on Zoom and say hi. Any time or day is OK – If I have a meeting I’ll suggest another time until we get one that works. I will jump on your Zoom and then I’ll get you to put the student or student(s) into a break out room with me. I’ll have a chat with them and take a screenshot that I will send to their parents.


The IRIS Center

If you are interested in learning more about inclusive education within your subject area then the IRIS CENTER is a great starting point. This site  is dedicated to improving education outcomes for all children, with an emphasis on children with disabilities,  through the use of effective evidence-based practices and interventions. 

To get started, 

  1. click on the Resources Tab 
  2. click on IRIS Resource Locator. (This is where you will find the modules, case study units, activities, and so much more)
  3. explore by topic, age group, resource type etc using the menu on the left side of the page and make a selection
  4. Click on Modules tab at the top
  5. Scroll through the options and click on the title that interests you
  6. At the bottom of the first  page, click on Begin to start working your way through the module

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