Well, what a year it has been! It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again when we sit down to look back at the last 12 months, the highs and the lows, and look to 2021 and what we want to achieve.
We’ve launched exciting new resource projects, grown our team, moved offices, celebrated some BIG birthdays including Teacher’s Pet turning 10, endured lockdown working, supported one another through the loss of close friends, and said hello to new friends.
2020 has been challenging but I am proud to say that Teacher’s Pet is still standing and we are incredibly grateful to our Teacher’s Pet community for helping us to see through this year.
Busy Busy Busy
It has certainly been a busy year for us with big projects and small ones.
We launched THREE wellbeing schemes this year! Starting with Monsters, moving to Superheroes during lockdown and most recently we introduced you to our wellbeing flock.
Probably one of our most fun and creative projects to date and it seems you guys love it just as much. Stay tuned for January 2021… our Monsters will be back, bigger and better than ever!
We also launched a wealth of other projects and resource packs including Buddy Bots, CREATE Science, HUGE topic packs like the Vikings and Chinese New Year, and a huge stack of resources to support you through the Year 2 phonics screener.
I could easily spend a whole blog just talking about these so I had better move on.
Stay at Home!
In March, like so many of you, we were hit with the news that schools and businesses were closing and we must stay at home.
With our fate now in the hands of the teaching community and having just taken on a brand new member of staff, it was an incredibly stressful time for us but we knew that however anxious we were, you guys were suffering far more, with the possibility of having to try and teach remotely for the next 3 months.
And so, we decided to drop all existing projects and instead turn to solely producing free home learning content for the next 12 weeks.
Just Kev and I producing up to 400 differentiated activities every single week was challenging to say the least, and resulted in many late nights and lost weekends but the response we received from teachers and parents was overwhelming and that spurred us on through.
By the end of lockdown we had produced over 40 free home learning packs for early years, key stage one, lower key stage two and upper key stage two. Resulting in over 4000 activities and over 350,000 downloads.
And if we weren’t busy enough, we also linked up with the BBC to support what they were doing through daily bitesize, to provide them with resources as well! In fact, we were the first resource, for the first lesson, on the BBC’s first day of launching Daily Bitesize, which actually crashed our website 😀
Out with the old…
After the craziness of lockdown, in June, we were told we could open up TPET HQ again. We finally got to meet our brand new staff member Josh in the flesh, who had been working with us remotely for the past 3 months.
From the success of our home learning, we also hired Michael part-time to help with admin and other tasks.
Suddenly, our little office made for 3 had 5 members of staff inside…oh and a German Shepherd… okay guys, it’s time to move!
We set to work finding a new place to call home, and we advertised and held interviews for 3 new roles, in preparation for much larger office space and a brand new era for Teacher’s Pet
…In with the new!
After weeks of looking and having an agreed office fall through, we finally found the perfect place to call home.
We packed up our stuff and never looked back. Moving in on the hottest day of the year wasn’t much fun I can tell you! Lugging furniture up lots of stairs and screwing in 44 blue IKEA legs into new table desks 😀
But it was such an exciting time, knowing that in just 2 days time, our 3 new members of staff would be joining us and the next phase of the Teacher’s Pet journey could begin.
Halfway through the summer holidays, we welcomed Beck, Meg, and Hannah to the team. The office dog was very excited to have new friends and we got straight to work on our Take Back Your Summer packs – providing you with a wealth of content for areas such as celebrating achievements, goal setting, staying safe in school, and more.
With an Early Years/KS1 teacher now on the team, a talented animator and illustrator, and a creative illustrator and graphic designer, we now had the tools to set to work on those future projects that had been put on hold during lockdown and expand our day to day resource offerings.
Our local newspaper had been following our journey with great interest over the past few months and with our goal to become the largest employer of Creatives in Stoke-on-Trent now out there, they reached out to run another article about our team and what we had achieved under difficult circumstances – an incredibly proud moment for me, being a born and bred working-class girl from Stoke-on-Trent.
2020 has also brought along some new friends, dinosaur friends to be more specific. After lots of planning and preparation, we were finally able to launch our exciting new partnership with TeachRex. We are proud to be supporting Joe, Sam and the rest of the TeachRex team and their workshops with exciting resource content to enhance learning in the classroom.
We have so far created school packs for EYFS and KS1 for their Dinosaur workshops and any schools that book a TeachRex workshop are welcome to get in touch and request access to these exclusive resources.
They have just added Thomas the gorilla to their range of workshop offerings and we cannot wait to kickstart 2021 with a brand new collection of content, all centred around the environment and the impact we have as global citizens – a real current issue to get children thinking about in school.
Pizza parties, pass the dance, Friday Starbucks, and Monday morning oatcakes (it’s a Stokie thing). Our little TPET family has experienced huge growth this year, but still, at the heart of it all is our desire as a company to foster a workplace centered around people, support, wellbeing, and creative freedom.
Together, we have experienced both personal and professional highs and lows this year, but we have been through it all together. I cannot tell you the joy it has brought to me watching our team grow in confidence and creativity, enjoying what they do, and feeling so proud in the knowledge that their work is supporting teachers and children across the UK and beyond in the learning journey. It really does make it all worthwhile for me.
December 2020 has seen the arrival of our 7th Advent calendar – with a new team in tow, we were able to do more than ever before. With an animation, differentiated activities, and daily social media fun, it’s been our most successful advent to date and we hope your class is enjoying learning all about toys through time this year!
Our roadmap for 2021 is complete and I cannot wait to start revealing some of our content and other plans for the next 12 months.
January will see a new recruitment drive in preparation for the projects we have planned. If you’re based in Staffordshire and looking for a new career outside the classroom then keep an eye on our careers page or social media channel in the new year for more info.
We will be finishing out 2020 on Wednesday 23rd of December with our TPET family Christmas dinner and enjoying a much-needed break until Monday the 4th of January. I hope you all have some good downtime too after what has truly been an eventful year.
To round up this blog, I would just like to say a great big thank you to our TPET family, our Teacher’s Pet community for your support throughout 2020. Your kind messages and financial support of our little business through the purchasing of a classic or ultimate membership has helped guide and encourage us throughout 2020. Without you, we couldn’t do what we do, so thank you.
Have a wonderful Christmas, a well-earned rest, and a happy and healthy 2021. I look forward to catching up with you all in the new year.
Christina Loftus (Teacher’s Pet Co-Founder)