The virtual teacher in the COVID-19 pandemic

A teacher's diary

By Kaisra Khan, secondary school science teacher and Voice Council member (personal view)

With a week's warning, life as we knew it at school ground to a halt. The daily commute, and the hustle and bustle of interactions between staff and the pupils were replaced by the concept of 'remote learning', delivered from the teachers' homes for online lessons, or packs of paper resources were posted out to pupils.

None of us could have imagined the weeks of lockdown and the eerie silence they would present in our streets. Suddenly, the air became cleaner and the sky devoid of the combustion trails of aircraft. People reported hearing birdsong! A different kind of lesson planning and delivery began....

Maintaining a routine 

Set the alarm for 07.00, a little later than the usual 06.00, a welcome extra hour in bed.

20 minutes' cycle on my exercise bike.

Shower and breakfast.

Logon to school laptop to catch up with daily emails from colleagues and parents/carers.

Check pupils' returned work, and celebrate their effort and attainment.  

Reassure them with appropriate praise, by a daily phone call.

Plan and set more lesson plans for the next day; the idea is to maintain as normal a timetabled day as possible. Make the activities fun and meaningful.

Take a 15 minute break for a quick stroll outside, maintaining safe distancing advice.

Settle down to read the latest education publication – Impact from the Chartered College of Teaching – or visit the Voice website, TES and other resources.

Lunch in the garden, enjoying the sunshine.

Quick chat with the neighbours from a 2 metre distance, which is weird.

Check if any more pupils' work has come via email, mark and comment and feedback.

Log off at the end of the normal school day.

Reflection

The evenings have been a mix of quiet reflection and an opportunity to try new things. I've started sewing and knitting again.

I've made a list of friends and neighbours, so that I call two each time to keep up the laughter and to offer virtual hugs all round. Of course, family is very important too; we take turns to video call one another. 

I have found that this routine has helped me to make sense of the lockdown and it has ensured I remain positive to maintain good mental health. 

I hope that you have found my diary useful and helpful.

As the famous saying goes:

"This too shall pass!"

 

 

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