Guest BLOG: Edie Sykes NQT

No more white tops!

Since starting my teacher career in September 2020, I have had the craziest (due to being in the middle of a worldwide pandemic!) but best few months. To say it has been an experience would be an understatement!

Due to COVID, my experience teaching has been completely different to what I would have experienced in ‘normal’ times, with lots of added challenges .e.g. social distancing, PPE and no mixing of bubbles. However, I am proud that I have shown I am willing and able to adapt to these changes. It has been comforting too (although I wouldn’t wish pandemic teaching on anyone) to know that it hasn’t just been me feeling like this, and that everyone- even the most experienced members of school staff- is in the same boat…a boat which honestly sometimes feels like it is sinking, but I know we will all get through this together, and if anything it has brought the school community closer together.

After Christmas, my role switched from working in KS2 to KS1- now this really did make me feel nervous! Anyone who knows me knows I have always defined myself as a KS2 teacher, and the thought of working in KS1 was once something which honestly terrified me. I soon realised though that actually, I didn’t have any need to be nervous at all due to the amazing children and the strong support from staff. Turns out I love doing silly dancing and singing to maths counting songs more than I originally thought (although I have now learnt that I can no longer wear my best white tops or nice shiny shoes in KS1…thanks bright pink paint and muddy outdoor play!).

This time round though, there has been the added challenge of the UK lockdown…which means remote teaching and the dreaded Zoom. Teaching children in school, whilst simultaneously teaching children at home over Zoom, has definitely been a challenge- a challenge which has involved a lot of ‘miss I can’t hear you’ and desperate pleas for learners at home to stay on mute. However, it has also had its positives. Yes it has been disheartening to know that there are children at home who miss being in school and seeing their friends and teachers (and we also miss them), but I have also tried to look at this as an opportunity to properly connect with those few children who are still attending school as more of my time and attention can be given towards them…an opportunity which in normal times may not have been entirely possible.

So overall yes, this year has posed many challenges (thanks COVID…), but it has also had many positives and I really believe that these experiences, including the challenging ones, have helped me become a stronger NQT and person in general. And thanks to the continued support from school and its staff, I believe I will grow even stronger.

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