As the schools get back to business, the news headlines focus on the months of learning that children have lost – and with good reason. Many pupils not only missed out on classroom teaching between March and July, they also didn’t have the opportunity to embed the previous term’s learning in their long-term memory.
The process of getting us back to where we were is currently hesitant, uncertain and we are not the same as we were. We have all been changed, regardless of how you considered your mental state to be. We are very aware that the world is uncertain – and it’s not just about coronavirus. Along with the change of/lack of routine, we can identify five barriers of uncertainty that have come about from this crisis:
How was your last term?
The final term of the year was obviously very different to normal. My school reacted thoughtfully and decisively to closure by setting up an online provision focused on supporting students to access education. The provision constantly evolved to incorporate different forms of education experiences, using technology to support students further.
If you had said in February that we would spend the whole of Summer Term teaching from home, I would have been gobsmacked. The last term has been the strangest of my decade-long teaching career. Not all of the events that unfolded post-lockdown were unpleasant. If you believe some online ‘commentators’, teachers spent that time sitting on the couch, which I did at some points. I spent more time with my own children, even becoming their teacher for a couple of months (more difficult than teaching my pupils). I provided online learning for my class whilst also spending one day a week supporting key worker children.
Nothing transforms a young life more than literacy. And, for a few young children in Years 1 and 2, the hours at home during lockdown might have been a blissful opportunity to devour books that they hadn’t previously had time to read. For many others, especially among the 380,000 UK schoolchildren who don’t own a single book, regular reading will simply have stopped when schools closed. With no daily reading record to complete, no dedicated reading time in class and no chance to share stories with others, the gains that these young children might have made in reading fluency and confidence before schools closed will have melted away.