This week on Willowbrook's Teacher Spotlight we read all about lockdown for schools in Scotland. Laura D'All (teachwith.missd) tells us all..
'It was tricky to predict whether schools would move to a remote learning model again after last time. There was such a push to keep schools open, so that any gaps in attainment weren't further. Teachers and and learners have been working so hard to 'close the gap' here that it was incredibly frustrating to lose some of that due to partial closures. That being said, I don't believe that it can be called 'lost learning' and that time needs to be made up through night classes, extended term into summer months, or catch-up school. Children should not be expected to come to teachers all cut the same way to fit a curriculum; we should be the ones prepared for them and adapt the curriculum to their needs as best as we can.
Back in January, I emphasised how fortunate Scottish teachers were; we had plenty of notice regarding remote learning compared to our English counterparts. They had 12 hours to prepare, we had nearly a week. I will say that I felt more prepared this time around compared to March/April 2020 - although that doesn't mean I knew what I was doing at all either! I was definitely concerned for my class, I teach Primary 1/2, so the children are not as independent with digital learning as I'd like for something like remote teaching, but their parents have been great! They get their child signed-in and sort the children out for the day, many of them having more than one child to support, plus their own jobs to do as well. We absolutely have to recognise the amazing work our families have done to support us.
The highlight of my week and something that has kept me motivated these past 6 weeks has always been our live well-being sessions twice a week. This was when I got to see my children 'face-to-face' on Teams and play games, read stories and generally just have a lovely chat. I'd post a poll on the page the day before asking the children what games they wanted to play or what book they wanted me to read to them and the children (or their parents, really) would respond. It made me realise just how much I love the job I do and how much I missed my mad bunch of kids; remote teaching is simply no match for the real thing!
A positive that has come out of this for me is how much me and my colleagues' digital skills have improved. I was digital lead for my school until August 2020, but was by no means an expert. It has been great to see all the different strategies that we have been using and sharing with other to maximise the online learning space for our learners. Long may the use of digital in our classrooms continue beyond the pandemic.
Scottish schools are partially reopening on Monday 22nd February. Nursery to Primary aged children are returning full-time and I couldn't be happier. I have missed being in class working with the children, hearing their daft stories and watching those lightbulb moments happen in front of my eyes. I know there are risks with opening up again, but as I said to my headteacher; the excitement to see my class again outweighs my nerves. Of course I'll still be taking all the precautions, but my goodness am I glad to be going back!
I don't think remote learning would have been a success for me without the support of the families working hard at home, my work pals and the wider teaching community (shout out to #teachergram for my remote learning inspiration). On a final and probably most important note; I am in awe of the resilience of my class, not only just now, but right back to August when they returned after such a long time away. I have realised during this 2020/2021 period that children need credit for the fact that they are possibly among the most adaptable, positive and enthusiastic individuals and that their resilience is boundless in the face of difficulty. If anyone should be getting a round of applause and high praise, it should be our learners!'
If you want to add to our teacher spotlight series, get in touch today, we'd love to hear from you!