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.
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.
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.
With a stressful September ahead, mindfulness and compassion are and will be more and more essential to their teacher and pupil wellbeing. There are many techniques and strategies, available for all teachers to incorporate into their lessons and interactions throughout the day, which will ensure a whole-school positive approach in the coming months with many benefits for all.
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.