What a crazy year 2020 has been, and we are only half way through!
Being a teacher during COVID-19 was an experience that I never thought I would have. There were a million different messages coming from the Australian and NSW government that were definitely new to us and timelines that were given but never set in concrete. But here’s how it went…
Our COVID-19 schooling adventure began in Term 1, around about week 8. We were told face-to-face teaching with no changes would continue for the rest of the term- school is a safe place so no stress!
Week 9 rolled around and suddenly we were moving to home learning to begin in 2 days from the government announcement and that would then be the plan until the end of term. But wait, week 10 arrived and surprise! This is the last week of school, school holidays were to start a week early allowing teachers time to prepare for a Term 2 of connected learning (yes, a little bit of panic had set in, what was life going to be like in general, let alone what was it going to be like teaching my class of 6-8year old’s from home?)
Term 3 arrived and weeks 1 and 2 consisted of connected learning, finally getting into a routine, teachers and students alike! Children were becoming more active online, seemed genuinely happy when we spoke to them through zoom sessions and were actually dealing quite well with this ‘new norm’ of online. So, let’s change it up and weeks 3 and 4 were to then consist of a mixture of connected learning and face-to-face (I couldn’t wait to see the kids again, but my concern was the structure- were they going to be ok? The kids were finally getting into a routine, was this going to throw out everything? How will they adjust knowing that the virus was still ‘hanging around’?). It all worked out though and our class had one of the highest attendances!
Then came Monday of week 5 and it was time to return to full-time face-to-face teaching. Many things were put in place to ensure the safety of all children and staff. Seeing those big bright smiles walking into the classroom on Monday morning just warmed my heart. The kids were so excited to be back at school and us teachers were so happy to see them- going from seeing the kids every day to seeing them once a week (if that) was hard! So, it was a really nice feeling being back. My grade partner and I had to set some new routines for these children who had essentially spent a good 8 weeks at home. Walking into our classroom, students hand sanitised/sanitise each time they walk in the room (mind you, the kids love this part), there was and still is, lots of discussion about hygiene and of course lots of talk about everything we have learnt being at home and the changes that will happen to our day to ease them back into their classroom learning. There were some struggles getting students back into the routine like we had just before leaving, but I think it’s safe to say, we are almost, if not already, back to our normal selves.
Woah, so much to talk about, so little word limit! Needless to say, we have learnt a lot from this year- what needs to stay, what needs to go and what needs to change. My grade partner and I have worked very hard to ensure the kids see school as the same, happy, exciting, safe place like they did before the world turned on its side, we will keep aiming for this as this crazy year goes on. Until next time, don’t forget to stay safe and sanitise!