A day in the life….2022 version

In 2020, I wrote a blog about the behind the scenes of remote learning and a friend recently suggested it would be interesting to see that again in our current times. It feels like we’re having all the external pressures to ‘get back to normal’ when this year has been anything but normal from a classroom perspective.

So here is a slice of our days at the moment, if for no other reason than as a historical artefact of the times as they are. This is a combination of the current realities of myself and staff I know across a broad range of settings – nowhere is immune from it right now.

  • Some days, I have a full grade of students. Some days, I have half a grade. Some days, I have a double grade as a colleague is sick and can’t be replaced as there’s no one to replace them. All 3 scenarios are equally exhausting as they require a quick re-imagining of whatever I’ve planned for the day. There absolutely is learning going on but not always what was intended and not always as effectively as I wanted it.
  • Children are coming to school with symptoms which could be COVID or flu or could just be a lingering cold and there isn’t much we can do about it. We’ve gone well beyond sending them all home at the first sign of a cough as the rest of society is pushing the whole ‘new normal’ thing so in they come, bringing who knows what into the classroom.
  • Close contacts under 8 don’t have to wear masks in the classroom so that’s all of our early years children. Just adds another layer of anxiety for staff when we know someone in their house has tested positive. Inevitably, after a few days, they’re off with it too and then we get to wait to see if we’ve won the lottery this time or not.
  • We’re doing all we can to mitigate the risks and are wearing layers of clothes to compensate for constantly open windows. Watching the kids shiver isn’t pleasant but neither is the alternative – definitely a no win situation.
  • Teaching over the top of the air purifier noise while in a mask (as our students don’t have to mask so our only protection is for us to) takes its toll and my throat is in a constant state of huskiness. This just adds to the paranoia – have I got COVID or is it just normal ‘mask throat’?
  • We take each day as it comes re: staffing. Some days we have all staff on board and others we’re down to a skeleton and everyone takes on extra yard duty, extra classes, extra everything. It’s hit and miss with getting CRTs but even when we do, there’s the inevitable extra work of planning for them, explaining where to find everything, explaining how to support particular students then just taking those students into our own grades when it doesn’t work out. So, more ‘extra’.
  • Amidst all of this, we’re being encouraged from all corners to ‘get back to normal’. Parents question why we haven’t organised excursions. It’s hard to explain that we don’t always have teachers in grades at school at the moment so organising an excursion which we might not be able to staff seems foolhardy. Besides, organising excursions takes time and no one has that right now, thanks to all the ‘extra’.
  • Reports are back to normal because, apparently, school hasn’t been interrupted this semester. Except a quick look at attendance in my grade tells a very different story. Between COVID, isolation, other illness and extended family holidays to make up for experiences missed, students have been away more than ever. So not so normal and very much interrupted, for all of us. But we’ll pretend for the sake of reports.

So, not normal at all. The majority of colleagues I’ve spoken to agree that this term has actually been the hardest out of the last 2 and half years – the constant pressure between ‘going back to normal’ and it really being far from normal weighing on us all. A final week’s crawl to the holidays to recharge the batteries and a probably vain hope that Term 3 will bring some relief.

Published by Gill

Primary teacher and student of everything techy, self confessed mac-geek, infrequent blogger, slow but happy runner, citizen of the planet. Opinions are my own, please don't hold them against me :)

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