Well folks, we made it. We were plunged into unchartered waters this year and somehow made it through. Fingers and toes are crossed that we’ll never have to teach in COVID-19 conditions again. We sincerely apologise if these things trigger your fight or flight response but with all the chaos and changes that happened this year, we thought it would be fun to think back to all the things we won’t miss about teaching in the pandemic.
Teaching in the Pandemic
Just when we thought we repeated ourselves way too much already, masks came in to frustrate us even more. Not only did they cause us to have to repeat ourselves 20 times instead of 10, they also created a facial breath sauna which was especially disastrous for glasses wearers. Our pupils saw masks as an opportunity to disrupt the class incognito style, by chatting to friends and making silly noises. Trying to catch them out became a job in itself.
Having to stand two metres away from everyone, having virtual meetings, including parents’ evening and becoming a travelling teacher who moves from room to room instead of your pupils coming to you. Do you remember the good ol’ days when things were simple? Social distancing added another layer of challenge to the teaching profession and we’re definitely not going to miss it.
It made perfect sense to have a one-way system to adhere to government regulations and keep each other as safe as possible, but we can’t pretend they weren’t kind of annoying. All the shortcuts were cut short. Going the long way round became our new reality. As if that wasn’t enough we were forced to be on constant one-way system patrol because our pupils would willfully break the rules. We are glad to see the end of that (hopefully).
Teaching from home didn’t sound half bad until we were forced to do it. From tech issues, to lower pupil turnout, to low focus and household disruptions – it was hard to catch a break. Remote teaching made teaching a 24 hour gig because our pupils and colleagues seemed to require our attention all the time. It’s also not as fun! Nothing beats connecting with your class in person and being able to assist them in making major strides in their learning. In person teaching just works.
To keep the spread of the infamous virus at bay, teachers had to become cleaners. We were armed with sanitiser, antibacterial wipes and tissues and we were ready for war. We disinfected our pupils when they arrived and left our lessons. We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve wiped down desks and door handles.
It’s no surprise that months of being at home negatively impacted the learning attainment of young people around the world. As teachers, seeing our pupils struggle was hard. But government and school pressures to bring attainment back to where it once was, was even harder. The workload was intense to say the least. We can only hope the new school year will be better (don’t hold your breath!).
Teacher-assessed grades created so much pressure on teachers and many did not want this responsibility. There was pressure from the government, schools, pupils and their parents. Getting our pupils’ exam ready is challenging enough, talk less of having to decide the fate of their final grades. May we see the return of GCSE exams in 2022 because we’ve well and truly had enough!
Did we miss anything about teaching in the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to read even more of our blogs here! You can also subscribe to Beyond for access to thousands of secondary teaching resources. You can sign up for a free account here and take a look around at our free resources before you subscribe too.