I had a hospital appointment yesterday; nothing alarming (and not Covid related). As I lay waiting for my local anaesthetic to take effect, the wonderful nurses engaged in small talk. “What do you do?” they asked.
“I’m a teacher,” I replied.
“Oh so you’ve been off work for a long time then.”
I was actually quite surprised. It made me think that unless you’re working in a school at the moment, you wouldn’t know what teachers did when the government closed the schools down. Who knew that having schools closed would create the greatest amount of work and educational innovation the profession has even seen.
This is why Bellevue asked us to make a ‘Behind the Scenes’ video of some teachers working in school, delivering home learning remotely. It really gives a flavour of how teachers have thought in every creative direction to keep the learning meaningful to the children. And you have to be engaging. I think every adult should try their hand at keeping the attention of eighteen 4-6 year olds in a live, remote lesson. It requires an enormous amount of skill, patience and ENERGY! All teachers understand that we set the tone for the remote lesson whether that’s to 4 year olds or 11 year olds. Our positive relationship with every child and the ‘hooks’ that we can put into the beginning part of the lesson means we can then ‘reel’ the children into their learning. They are then willing to give the same time and effort from home as they would in the classroom. These hooks come in all forms whether it’s a Maths game, film clip, science experiment or role-play.
There’s also comfort in routine; managing to deliver a lesson similar to that experienced in the classroom gives pupils that sense of security. Pupils mainly miss paired and small group collaboration so the use of breakout rooms gives them the experience of a ‘normal’ Wandsworth Prep lesson. The danger of a remote lesson is that educators regress into a ‘chalk and talk’ situation with pupils being presented ‘to’ for 30 minutes and then children are left alone, without support or beneficial discussion to carry out a task. Finding ways within live lessons for questions, discussion time and independent tasks whilst teachers are on hand to support, have been integral to the success of the WPS remote provision.
So bravo to all those behind the scenes: the teachers, the office staff, the teaching assistants, the Bellevue team and of course you, the parents. We did it...for 6 long weeks in a row. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back. Enjoy the video...