When I sat in the Christmas holidays, I knew that remote teaching was going to be a possibility. I knew that there was going to be the chance this this would happen.. and here we are! I’m teaching from home. Spring 1 has thrown me into a barrage of learning new things, adapting plans and embracing change in a way I never imagined I would need to.
As I type this, we are in week 4 of the half term… and every week has been different!
I was in school all week. Went in on Monday, spent a lovely day with my kids and then 8pm that day the bombshell was dropped. Remote learning and schools to close (but not really close). I think, even now, I’ve not let myself process this information – I think I’ve not let myself get angry, or sad about it because I think if I start, I won’t stop ha. So, as I was saying, we were in school on the Monday and then from the Tuesday, we were in kind of crisis mode, meetings left right and centre and embracing online/remote learning. That week, I think I was just in automatic mode: things were getting done because it was necessary; I don’t know that I actually processed anything from that week. I just went into autopilot mode and did what I needed to. It was a surreal week.
Week 2 was my week with the bubble of key workers/vulnerable children. We have 2 bubbles in my school of key worker/vulnerable children and teachers are rotating around the bubble on a weekly basis – it works in my school, I don’t need commentary on it thanks. The week with the bubble was INTENSE. It was hard work managing the needs of the bubble children (their work, their live lessons, learning their personalities – I work in a small 1 form entry school, so know all of the children, but there’s a differene between knowing of the children and seeing how they work) as well as managing the needs of my own class. I’d say the hardest thing to get my head around was managing a work life balance. I will say for the record that my SLT have been amazing, but if you know me, you know I can be a bit of a control enthusiast and a bit of a perfectionist… so it was a struggle. I was getting in to work early, setting up for my day with the bubble, managing all their things and then I’d get home and then think about the needs of my class for the following day. It wasn’t easy – I’d be working til 9pm some days, just getting ready. One thing I will say is that having the bubble week so early on made me get my arse into gear quickly. Now, I am organised and planned because I needed a way to manage my workload (as well as my student’s and my TA’s) without doing everything the day before. So yeah, my week with the bubble was an INTENSE, STEEP ROLLERCOASTER RIDE, but I really enjoyed being back with kids again.
Last week was my first teaching from home week and I’m gonna be honest, at times, it was truly a struggle. I like having a separate environment for home and work. I’ve commandeered the spare room in my house as my ‘workspace’, so that at the end of the day, I can shut the door and ‘switch off’ (If you know me, you know that switching off is NOT a thing I do, but hey ho!). Delivering live lessons, meeting with my Y6 team and having whole staff briefings throughout the week was a lovely way to keep a grip of reality. I’m a big fan of a routine and stability, so embracing something new for the 3rd week in a row has been a bit of a shock to the system. I got through my live lessons, did some Maths courses and got myself organised for this week. It wasn’t an easy week; we had some trouble in one of the live lessons which I wasn’table tobe part of (due to being on a course), so when that went wrong (children kicking teachers and each other out of the lesson), it was a real punch in the gut. I am really hard on myself and find it difficult to not take things personally – I very much see my class’ behaviour as a reflection on me as a teacher (which I know rationally is untrue). So yes, there were tears in week 3, but there were also moments of ‘I can do this’ too.
Obviously this is only my experience and that everyone’s experience is different and everyone’s school is dealing with this situation in different ways. I read stories of people who are having to work in a completely different way to me, but I wanted a space to share my thoughts and feelings. I must say in all of this, I take my hats off to school leaders and SLTs up and down the land. It’s not been easy for teachers, but they’ve been working non-stop and doing all of the behind the scenes things – goal posts changing constantly, liaising with staff, parents, children; dealing with all the ever-changing guidance from the government (which has never been delivered to them at a good time!). You guys are amazing.
For the people who don’t want to read my looooong paragraphs. Some reflections:
- I’m far too hard on myself
- Kids are way more resilient than adults
- I’ve not hated it; I’ve not loved it
- It’s not an easy job at the best of times, but some days it has felt a bit impossible
- You can’t please everyone all the time
Teachers up and down the land have entirely changed the way they work, and I think we aren’t getting enough credit. If you’re a teacher reading this, please know that I, as a fellow teacher and human, really appreciate how flexible and adaptable you’ve been over the past few weeks. If you’re a parent and you appreciate the hard work of your kids’ school, reach out and tell them that – the kind words really do help on really shitty days. Of you’re a human, and you know a teacher, reach out to them and check in with them (they’ll probably tell you everything’s fine, but know that we’re all a bit stressed).
As ever, I’m always here if anyone needs to chat or wants a virtual hug,