COVID-19: Supporting Kuwaiti school staff and students from Brisbane

Man sitting at table with laptop with child in background
Kevin Fullbrook

Deputy Director of a large bilingual school in Kuwait, Kevin Fullbrook, has not only found himself working from home, but working from home in Australia.

“Our schools have all been closed since late February, with online learning occurring since early March. Our school won't open again until September (at the earliest). I have returned to Brisbane with my wife and two young children and am working remotely from home, supporting my staff and students from afar.”

Mr Fullbrook says COVID-19 has massively impacted schooling around the world, with Kuwait being no exception. In a very short space of time, students, teachers and parents have all had to adapt to a new way of learning.

“I think the current circumstances have highlighted just how important personal and social connections are to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. We crave face-to-face human interaction, and we very quickly discovered that perhaps we took for granted our ability to interact in person with others on a daily basis.”

“Students around the world, my school included, realised that while it might be nice to sleep in and wear your pyjamas around the house all day, they actually really missed school. Like, a lot.”

Likewise, Mr Fullbrook said many parents quickly came to the realisation that teaching can be a challenging task and quite often the dynamics of online learning at home are very interesting, often frustrating for all involved.

“Like many of us, I am balancing the competing priorities of home schooling my 8 and 5-year-old while trying to stay on top of work requirements, Zoom meetings, and the like,” he said.

His call to arms (the ones attached to your hands) is to think about how you can reach out to support someone in need.

“The current situation has highlighted the inequities in many societies around the world. In schooling, online learning only works in many cases if you have access to an electronic device and a fast, stable internet connection - a luxury many around the world do not have.

"Many children around the world, including in our own backyard, have limited access to books. The current situation has also made the task of supporting our most vulnerable children, those with mental health concerns or at-risk home environments, much more challenging.”