Wow! What a half term it has been! The hardest half term, and hardest part if teaching yet. It’s been like doing two teaching jobs at once: in the classroom, and online. Oh yeah, and being in school with all windows open throughout winter, with snowy weather.
So, Monday 4th January 2021, at 8pm, it was announced schools would partially close (again, they have not closed fully, vulnerable and key worker children were still attending school). 12 hours notice schools had to prepare for this. 12 hours. But, as usual, we managed and did the best for our children.
Those children at home, were online learning. We used Google Classrooms. The work we set was exactly the same as we used in school, so the education, and delivery of the subject was balanced in school and at home. At first, we did no live sessions. We slowly changed this.
As nervous wracking as it was to begin teaching a live lesson via google meet, we managed it, and the children adapted very well to online learning. I’ve adapted too as a teacher. As live lessons were introduced throughout the school, we began to call it blended learning. A blend of face to face and online learning. Even though it was difficult teaching this way, it was lovely to see all of my class, even if they were in their own little box on my laptop screen.
These live lessons were recorded, so those who were unable to make the live lesson could still access the teaching. We even pre recorded some of our lessons. There are many remakes of these recordings.
We noticed that, even though we were following government guidelines of 4 hours of learning provided, daily, we found children and staff needed some time away from the screen. So as a school, we introduced ‘Have a good time and reduce your screen time’ afternoon on a Wednesday. This had a different theme each week. The first week was based around healthy eating. Children were given fun activities, such as, creating their own healthy meal, blind fold tasting (some found new foods they liked), and creating their own healthy menu. Our second week theme was Chinese new year. We learnt all about the Chinese new year, the animals and what they represented, finding out what animal they were born in, as well as guessing the staffs year too. Our class dressed up as dragons and created our own lanterns.
It is now February half term, and I think I can say all teachers and children deserve a well rested break, with time away from the screen.
8th March is when schools are to be fully open again, well, at the time of writing this post anyway. Whether this is a phased return like before summer 2020, or all children back at once, I’m not too sure. Suppose we will find out soon.
I cannot wait until all the children are back in school again