As I sit here looking at the beautiful, cloudless sky, smelling the succulent barbecues from my surrounding neighbours’ gardens, it seems such a far cry from the news at the moment. I’m enjoying the tranquillity, the reduction in noise pollution, both from the roads and overhead. My daughter is lost in her thoughts on her swing and I’m savouring this time. The weekend.
The working days are not what they used to be. We’re all adapting to new and alien ways of teaching. I miss the faces of the five year olds sat cross-legged (well mostly) on my carpet with their curious questions and candid chatter. Every day in the classroom is different. Having a bad day is never an option as the children will always say or do something that will inevitably put a smile on my face. This interaction is what makes our jobs so rewarding. It’s why l teach.
COVID-19 has come into our lives and thrown us into isolation. We’ve closed schools. Stayed home. Accepted social distancing. How do you explain this to young children? It goes against every sense of their being. They are social creatures who thrive in the company of others. They learn through their experiences, through playing and exploring with others. How can you replicate this type of learning through home schooling?
In our ever–evolving teaching, last week we embarked on our first whole class calls. My first experience of zoom with my children and their parents was quite daunting to say the least. Not only was I trying to navigate a new technology, but I was also looking to keep some level of order with a class of half excited, half overwhelmed children. The twenty minutes flew by quickly with children showing artwork, shouting to each other and altering their virtual backgrounds. I breathed a sigh of relief as I ended the meeting having learnt valuable lessons and feeling exhilarated for the next one.
With communication being key, we’ve also had a zoom call with each child and their parents. As ever, I smiled as I was shown an array of amazing artwork, creative crafts and some quite remarkable projects the children had been working on. One child, as we neared the end of the call, paused and asked if I could please let her know when Coronavirus would be over and we can all go back to school. As parents, we spoke about this strange new parent/homeschooling/work juggling situation we had all found ourselves in and felt reassurance in the fact that we are all in this together and we will make it through.
As we further evolve our Highgate@Home learning experience, I feel excited. Just as my daughter enjoys the sneaky glimpse around the computer in an attempt to see faces of other children, I look forward to keeping a level of normality for the children I teach. Children are resilient little humans who adapt far more easily to situations than perhaps we, as adults, ever could.
Lynsey Hood joined Highgate School as a Key Stage One teacher in 2018. She is the Lead for Digital Communications and Computing in the Pre-Prep. Outside of school, she enjoys spending quality time with her young daughter as well as keeping up to date with new technology and the arts.