Are you looking for an uplifting, realistic blog post from a fellow early years teacher? This week we speak to Lauren, a Year 1 teacher who has shared her experience being back in the classroom with us.
'When I found out the news that all primary pupils would be returning to school on the 8th of March, in all honesty, I felt torn.
I desperately missed teaching face-to-face: seeing those 'lightbulb moments' that are oh so magical; observing children sharing and discussing their ideas with one another on the carpet; the endless resources that are available within my classroom for the children to access at their own at their own discretion; and most importantly, supporting the children with their emotional literacy on a daily basis without a screen in between us. I genuinely missed my class SO much. Even though I was lucky that I got to see them every day for live lessons, it just didn't compare to being in the classroom.
However, I also felt extremely anxious about what was yet to come. Would this happen again? Would we settle the children back into school for a matter of weeks or (heaven forbid!) days before Mr Johnson sends us back off home to begin frantically setting up remote learning again? Would schools returning mean that ultimately the restrictions would be in place for longer because of a rise in the infection rate? Would I be able to protect my loved ones whilst teaching in a classroom with 30 Year 1 children who simply cannot socially distance?
Nevertheless, the decision was made and we all began to plan for a full return to school. As teachers, we strive to provide the very best for our pupils and this was no exception. My school dedicated a staff meeting to discuss the plans for reopening and I felt much better after that. I like to know what is happening and I think it helped alleviate some of my anxieties.
Monday 8th March soon came around and I had butterflies in my tummy as I drove to school! I was nervous and excited in equal measures. Part of me felt like I was starting out as an NQT again on my first day. In January, I was lucky to win a HUGE resources giveaway and included was a glow writer. I wrote 'Welcome back, Year 1' on it and turned on the flashing lights. I wanted to make their first day back memorable for the children. Everything was set up ready and I was twiddling my thumbs waiting for the children!
The children arrived and it was heart-warming to see them running into school with huge grins on their little faces. They chattered away with one another on the carpet, whilst looking around at their classroom and spotting any changes in displays, tables etc. Within minutes, it felt like we'd never been away and we were soon engaging in our everyday routines.
Although the children were having a great time being back at school, they were most definitely TIRED! During the first week back, their main questions were, "When is it lunch time?" and "Is it nearly home time?". And, to be honest, I was thinking the same thing!
It's now the Easter Holidays and as I write this, I am reflecting upon the year so far. My class have been absolute super stars. Being new KS1 this year, I never imagined children so young to be this adaptable and resilient. If someone had told me at the start of the year that I'd be teaching 5 and 6 year olds, who would transition seamlessly from continuous provision, to engaging in live zoom lessons to a more formal teaching approach upon return to school, I would've laughed! They deserve ALL the praise phrases! Seal of approval? You got it! Hip hip hooray? Absolutely!
I think it goes without saying that teachers are incredibly resilient and have already faced so many challenges since the start of the pandemic. I am in awe and have never been prouder to be a part of this generation of teachers. A huge shout out to #teachergram for inspiring me, giving me confidence and a supportive platform to connect with so many amazing professionals. Wholeheartedly, I believe that I couldn't have got through these tough times without the people I have 'met'.
We love hearing all of your stories and experiences from what has been a very odd year for many, but as we come out the other side we love to hear these positive experiences.
If you'd like to share your stories with us we'd love to hear them. Alternatively, if you have any exciting classroom displays then we'd love to feature them in our blog!