Covid-19 had struck. We sent the children home from Roundthorn Primary Academy three days before schools closed nationally to all but key workers and vulnerable children. We’d had an outbreak; a number of staff fell ill and I was taking no chances. With little time to plan and just a few photocopied sheets in hand, we sent the children home not knowing what the immediate future might look like or when we’d see them again.
I am not the only teacher who dreaded “going back” after the Easter break, but I had more to dread than most as I had been off sick for a number of weeks before lockdown. This meant that I had no preparation time for remote learning and felt totally out of the loop, both professionally and digitally!
How's your last term been?
My last term in my new Assistant Head role has been somewhat different. It has consisted of responding to parents each day, Zooming my class and setting learning (Creative writing, Reading Comprehension, Grammar, Maths and Topic Learning) each week. Just want to say a big thank you to Pobble @HeyPobble and Maths Shed @mathshed for providing brilliant resources for the children and parents to use.
The teaching profession has been shaken this year by enormous numbers of PGCE teachers having been under lockdown without access to months of valuable class-based experience they would otherwise have received. The upcoming NQT year for these new teachers is going to be challenging, strange and mentally trying. Having recently gone through my own NQT year, I’ve assembled a list of the 5 things this year’s NQTs should take note of for saving time and energy in this unpredictable first year of teaching.
From as early as January 2020 our school’s leadership team could see we were going to have to prepare for delivering all learning and pastoral care remotely. Education during the pandemic has had to play a crucial role in engaging children whilst key worker parents continue to provide frontline services to the nation.
The COVID-19 epidemic has fundamentally changed the way we use the internet. According to Ofcom, we’re spending on average an hour longer on the internet every day than we did in 2018. This has been especially true for children, who’ve relied on video calls and online games and lessons as a way to continue learning, socialising and playing.
Teachers and schools will need little reminding that in recent weeks they have been the subject of a number of newspaper headlines, most of which haven’t been positive about our profession. Likewise, some social media commentators have had an open season in sharing their opinions about education. This has implications for the wellbeing of our staff in these challenging times.
Up and down the country, there will be teams of senior leaders and teachers getting together (from a safe distance!) to discuss what school will look like come September. So how on earth do we start the process of prepping for September with children who have been away from school for over five months?
Zoom has exploded onto the stage during lockdown - everyone is zooming everyone, although occasionally grandparents are not quite getting the hang of it. My daughter reportedly spent 10 minutes speaking to my dad’s right ear. Though, to be fair to him, the fact he had managed to find the app on his phone was an achievement in itself (I think he had help).