‘Expect the unexpected’ a saying that can undoubtedly explain the teaching profession. However, I don’t think that teaching through a pandemic was on anyone’s list of unexpected – definitely not mine anyway!
So what’s it like teaching during a pandemic?
It’s confusing. One day we are welcoming our children back to school and the next they are being sent home. One day our classrooms are full of children ready to play and learn and the next our computer screens are now our classrooms.
It’s exhausting. Yes, I said exhausting. Most people think teachers are having a rest at home or having an easy time in school with reduced numbers of children in classrooms – after this experience I can 100% assure you that this is not correct! Lockdown learning is exhausting. We are multi -tasking all day long trying to give children both in school and at home the best learning experience we can whilst also battling the problems technology throws at us (aka – ‘’Miss I can’t hear you’’ x 30).
It’s worrying. I think sometimes people outside of the teaching profession forget that we teachers are also human. We have families we go home to every night, families we want to keep safe and protect from this nasty virus yet we risk this daily. Then, on top of that, there is the worry of your bubble closing and the worry that those vulnerable children in your class that you know view school as their safe place now must stay home.
It’s lonely. A bubble closure means two weeks at home. Two weeks in isolation. Two weeks at home might sound like a dream to some people, but for me two weeks at home left me feeling completely disconnected from the job I love. After all, you don’t get into teaching for any other reason other than the joy you get when you are in the classroom.
So yes, teaching through a pandemic is hard and my teaching experience so far has been all of the above. It’s been confusing, it’s been exhausting, it’s been worrying and at times it has been lonely, but it has also been full of discovery and extremely valuable.
Regardless of my young age, me and technology have never been best friends and I have always shied away from attempting to use innovative technology – mainly because it was always more than likely going to be exactly that – an attempt rather than a success! However, the pandemic has forced me to embrace technology. I have used microsoft forms, padlet, jamboard and other exciting and engaging tools that have supported and improved my teaching and learning and they are tools that I will continue to use when this pandemic is finally over (if it’s ever over!).
Asking for advice or admitting I am struggling has not always been my strong point, however this pandemic has taught me that asking for support is not a weakness. I am lucky to have such an amazing support team that have made being an NQT through a pandemic possible. They are invaluable and have taught me the importance of support – both being unafraid to ask for support and being available to give support.
So as horrible as this pandemic has been, it has pushed me out of my comfort zone, improved my teaching and learning and provided me with an irreplaceable support team. If I can get through this then I can get through anything!