So here we are. Lockdown 3.0. Although for some of us, it may be 4.0 or even 5.0. As the saying goes, ‘We may not be in the same boat, but we are all riding the same storm.’ We need to look after each other and also ourselves. When it comes to teaching, I think we can safely say that this job has had to be one of the most adaptable professions of 2020. And it continues to be.
With guidance changing frequently, how can we ensure that we’re ‘doing the right thing’? In this blog, I will share what has worked for me since going into this lockdown. I hope there is something useful for others.
Keeping It Simple
This has been a phrase I have said to myself on a daily, if not hourly, basis. We are back into a time where we cannot teach like we ‘normally’ would. Currently, I am teaching both my Year 6 key worker children as well as planning and sharing activities with my Year 6 home learners. It’s a bit of a juggling act and at times, feels like double the workload.
To try and help with this, I have been solely planning for my home learners, and then adapting this for my key worker children. By doing this, I am considering what is achievable for my home learners. I have found that I can use exactly the same activity with my key worker children with only small tweaks.
If I was to plan this the other way round (which I did try last week), I found I was having to do many more changes and adaptations to the planned activities for the children at home. When I start to plan an activity now, I say to myself, ‘What is the objective?’ and ‘What do I want the children to achieve?’ This helps keep me focused on the task I am planning for.
You Will Find a Rhythm
We’ve done it before and we can do it again. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have all the answers or have everything running as you would like it straight away. Even by the end of week 2. Yes, we have our timetables and plans for the week, but take each day as it comes. There will be days when we fly through the work and days when everything will go wrong (thank you ‘reliable’ Wi-Fi!). The things that don’t go quite the way that we’d hoped will *hopefully* be small and as Elsa says, we should try to ‘let it go’. So, the Wi-Fi isn’t being very fast…maybe that’s a sign to take a break? Windows 10 crashes? Go make a coffee. The live lesson doesn’t go to plan? So do may lessons when we’re teaching in the classroom. It’s okay. It happens. Think of it as one less hour until home time!
Use What Works
I found myself at the start of this lockdown, looking through many teacher resource websites to find the ‘right’ home learning activity. I was therefore spending more time looking for activities than actually planning anything! This had to change. Us teachers have plenty of jobs on the ‘to-do’ list each week now, without having to find different resources. I went back to my Medium Term Plans that had been written before lockdown was announced and I am using them as a starting point. That way, the curriculum is still being covered in some way. I have also made a set list of resources/websites that I will go to, as I know one of them will have what I need. Why try and make new resources for home learning when there are plenty to use or re-use already?
My list includes:
– Teacher’s Pet
– BBC Bitesize
– Previous activities from last year’s planning
– Websites such as STEM
And so far…I have halved my planning time by sticking to a set number of sites and resources. Long may that continue!
Yes…even us adults should limit our screen time! When on a lunch break or of an evening, it can be very easy to scroll the wonders of social media or the news. I found I was feeling more anxious and stressed after doing this, whereas before, I used to really enjoy browsing various accounts and articles. I’ve decided to use this lockdown as an opportunity to really think about what purpose looking at the news and social media serves me. Does it make me happy? Do I enjoy it? As a result, I have unfollowed many accounts and stopped watching the news altogether. It sounds almost harsh, but it’s helped me to feel like I am having a proper ‘break’ of a lunchtime or in an evening. Even to the point of not looking at my phone at all! I urge you to give it a try!
Look After Yourself
I’m sure that many websites and blog posts have said this already, but I cannot stress enough the importance of looking after yourself too. Whether that’s by having a longer bath, painting your nails, playing a game on a console or even just 5 minutes of random doodling. Whatever you enjoy doing, do it! (Within the parameters of lockdown rules of course). If we don’t look after ourselves, we won’t be able to look after the children who need us.
Stay safe everyone.
And keep doing what you’re doing. You are doing an amazing job. I’m sending a virtual hug, hot cuppa and a box of cookies to each and every one of you! You are amazing! 🙂